International Trade State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe has backed giving financial incentives to officials working in the Import and Export Department to fast-track approvals, improve compliance and promote governance, the ministry said in a statement yesterday.
Speaking at the event to mark the assumption of duties by new Imports and Exports Controller General Damayanthi Karunarathna, the State Minister had pointed out the importance of the work done by the department, which gives a large number of approvals before goods can be cleared from Customs. He had then said he would work to provide a financial incentive to encourage officials to improve their professionalism. “As ministers we do not influence the public officials who work in departments under us. Therefore the public employees can discharge their duties as they see fit but it also means that they have a responsibility to ensure that their work is at the highest professional level and above reproach,” he said.
The State Minister also highlighted the importance of the Import and Export Department’s activities for the smooth running of the economy and for consumers to have ready access to goods.
“We have to upgrade the services that are provided by the department and make it a place that provides easier access and works efficiently. I believe this department can become an example of how efficiently government entities can run,” he added.
The new controller General Damayanthi Karunarathna is a respected civil servant who joined the Sri Lanka Administration Services in 1995. She was the Divisional Secretary of Dehiaththakandiya before becoming the Additional Manager of the Irrigation Management of the Mahaweli Authority. She has been on the Board of Coconut Plantations, functioned as the Western Provincial Health Secretary and was the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Developmental Strategies and International Trade.