President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the present Government’s policy and belief are to provide a better public service by strengthening public service. The President mentioned this while declared opening the Customs Headquarters building.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared open the new Headquarters building of the Customs Department last morning (July 14) amidst religious blessings. The state of the art new building, "Export Centre" which will work 24 hours, 365 days to speed up clearance of exports has 12 stories. More than 10 thousand million rupees has been spent to construct the building.
Addressing the gathering following the opening of the building, the President said that the people who talk about good governance have not changed their policies so far. All government buildings are renovated now. Public servants should provide their services while being in a pleasant environment, he said.
“There are politicians who do not have confidence in the public service. Their opinion is to reduce the public sector work force. Even now they have not changed. They have trust only in the private sector. They say that the public sector is not efficient. They believe in other methods to create good governance. They still believe in their old ideas. We have changed our policies from 2005. We trusted the public service. We have confidence in the public sector. We have the confidence that the public sector can provide a better service. No matter how carefully we work, there are some who escape our sight. It is possible for racketeers to escape your vigilance”, the president further added.
The president also said, “you are not only imposing taxes, but protect the culture, artifacts, environment and wildlife. You have that responsibility. You are able to fulfill your duties today without fear. The public service is not there to harass people. We have to assist the public with the proper legal procedures.”
“Love your country. The country needs your service. The country is developing now. We have risen to a middle income economy now from a defendant economy. Be proud of your country. Do not allow to reverse the freedom won. You need to make your contribution, said President Rajapaksa.
The land where the new building is at present, was to be sold to a Singaporean Company by the then UNP Government. The ownership of the land was retained by the Customs Department following trade union action led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was the Opposition Leader at that time. The President who was the Prime Minister in 2005, laid the foundation stone for the building.
The building which resembles a ship in the sea. The President also opened the Customs Museum. He was presented with books containing the history of the Customs, mementos and the First Day Cover and the stamp depicting the 205 years of service of the Department. Customs Director General Jagath P. Wijeweera, presented the President with a book on export taxes.
Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara and Presidential Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath were present at the opening ceremony.