July 20, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state radio will shed up to 400 excess employees by giving them a million rupee severance package senior officials said, while the broadcaster was reeling under mounting losses. At the moment it has 1,068 employees and most of the excess is in the transport and security divisions, officials said.

Most Sri Lankan state institutions are over-staffed due to politicians stuffing them with their supporters over decades.

In recent years, wholesale recruitement to the government has seen nearly 300,000 new workers added to the state sector, a senior minister has said.

State salaries and pensions ate up 55 cents out of every tax rupee in 2007. State workers get tax-free salaries. Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) chairman Hudson Samarasinghe said employees who had worked for more than 10 years and are below the age of 52 could apply for the voluntary retirement scheme.

If 400 persons take up the offer, SLBC would need 400 million rupees to finance the severance scheme.

SLBC director general Samantha Weliweriya said the Treasury is expected to finance the scheme.

SLBC’s current wage bill is 24 million rupees a month, and after excess employees are s