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Sri Lanka: Politics and Government

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 21168, tabled on 20 June 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment her Department has made of the effectiveness of the Samurdhi programme in Sri Lanka.

Answered on

28 June 2022

The UK recognises the economic challenges that Sri Lanka is facing. We continue to monitor the economic situation in Sri Lanka closely, including the impact economic issues are having on food security and livelihoods. The existing social protection systems, including the Samurdhi programme, provide essential support to the most vulnerable communities in Sri Lanka and will be crucial at this difficult time.

The Sri Lankan authorities have taken a number of measures to help support the public, including an economic relief package of Rs. 200bn ($1bn) announced in January 2022. This package includes a Rs. 5000 ($25) monthly allowance for public sector employees, pensioners and disabled soldiers. Under the scheme, Rs. 1000 ($5) has been allocated to the beneficiaries of the government's largest welfare programme 'Samurdhi', and a number of taxes and levies have been removed from essential foods and medicines. The Government of Sri Lanka agreed on May 2 to provide a special three-month cash allowance from May to July worth Rs. 13.36 billion to 3.34 million families affected by the current economic crisis, with funding from the World Bank of which the UK is a major donor. We regularly discuss economic policy with the Sri Lankan Government and encourage efforts to improve economic growth and protect vital economic interests such as key industries, commodities, employment and livelihoods.