Signing of agreements with foreign countries related to development and technical information exchanges will amount to a mere farce, if ministries do not take follow up action and explore the opportunities presented by them, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday.
Ministries should pay close attention to such MOUs and details which are relevant to their fields and initiate follow up action with the aim of deriving maximum benefits for the country, President said during a progress review meeting of the Water Resources Management Ministry.
The President said that although Sri Lanka signs many MOUís with other countries on development and technical information sharing in many fields it was doubtful whether authorities take full use of them.
During the meeting the President also looked into other issues relevant to the sector. He highlighted public complaints, looked into the needs of the ministry and discussed challenges obstructing further development.
One of the issues highlighted was the lack of technical officers and engineers where the President advised both the Ministry Secretary and Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva to look into the matter and come up with a viable solution.
Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa meanwhile suggested that paddy varieties with a high quality should be introduced in the Mahaweli zone with the intention of exporting the excess yield. President Rajapaksa advised officials to pay close attention to the suggestion.
The President also drew attention of the officials to protecting the catchment areas and advised them to take strict action to prevent encroachment and other harmful activities. He also requested the Ministry to prepare a cabinet paper with proposals to protect catchment areas. He also highlighted several complaints received from the public about discrepancies related to distribution of Mahaweli lands among farmers and advised officials to investigate the allegations.
President Rajapaksa also requested the Ministry Secretary to provide compensation without delay for private lands acquired for development purposes.
He also advised officials that monies should be paid for projects done by private firms only after receiving confirmation that they are up to required quality standards.
While paying attention to irrigation systems and tanks damaged due to floods the President told officials that the government in future will make a separate allocation in the budget to repair such damages.
The President also advised officials to take prompt action against issues highlighted in the media and added that a viable reply to such issues should be sent without delay.
The President also evaluated Key Performance Indicators against agreed targets by the ministry.