In an effort to streamline the ‘Aswesuma’ benefit programme and address ongoing concerns, the Finance Ministry has announced the implementation of an ‘Aswesuma Week’ from November 6 to 11.
The objective of this initiative is to promptly rectify the issues plaguing the programme and ensure that deserving beneficiaries receive their entitled support without further delay.
State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said that this initiative aims to provide immediate support to families who have not yet received their entitled benefits. Furthermore, it extends its support to those who have been selected as relief beneficiaries, as well as those whose benefits have been subject to delay due to technical complications.
During a press conference held at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC) yesterday (30), with the overarching theme of ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’, State Minister Semasinghe unveiled the upcoming ‘Aswesuma Week’ and elaborated on its core goals.
State Minister Semasinghe stressed that ‘Aswesuma Week’ will facilitate the swift distribution of benefits to families who have encountered difficulties in receiving their entitled assistance. This includes both families who have not yet received any benefits and those who have experienced delays due to technical issues.
Moreover, the State Minister confirmed that various Government departments, including the Presidential Secretariat, the Finance Ministry, the Public Administration Ministry and Divisional Secretariats are dedicated to resolving issues related to relief beneficiaries during this designated week. This concerted effort reflects the Government’s dedication to addressing the concerns of those reliant on the ‘Aswesuma’ programme, he said.
In addition to the forthcoming resolution of existing issues, the State Minister announced that all payments for the month of July have been successfully distributed to beneficiaries, with payments for August set to commence from the upcoming Wednesday.
State Minister Semasinghe reiterated that ‘Aswesuma Week’ should not be mistaken for a call for applications for the upcoming year. Instead, it is an initiative aimed at addressing unresolved issues from the current year’s application submissions. The Welfare Board is collaborating with Divisional Secretariats to ensure that beneficiaries are informed about the progress made.
The State Minister of Finance also provided a financial outlook, indicating that Rs. 8.5 billion will be distributed to 1,365,000 beneficiaries within the next two days, enabling beneficiaries to access their funds starting from November 1 (Wednesday). Subsequently, payments for the month of September are expected to be completed before the end of the following month.
The State Minister acknowledged that while there haven’t been financial issues, technical complications, such as problems with bank accounts, have posed challenges. Nevertheless, the Government is determined to resolve these technical issues promptly to expedite payments.
State Minister Semasinghe recognized the profound impact of the economic downturn on vulnerable populations and assured that the Government is committed to mitigating their hardships. He emphasized the Government’s commitment to accelerating the distribution of financial aid, with the goal of finalizing payments for July through December by the end of the year. Additionally, the Government plans to broaden its focus to address various other aspects when inviting applications.
In conclusion, State Minister Semasinghe acknowledged the less popular economic decisions taken by President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Government and highlighted their vital role in achieving economic stability. He emphasized that the Government’s efforts extend to benefiting both Government employees and the general public, ultimately fostering a robust and resilient national economy.