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‘Clash at Katunayake FTZ politically motivated’ -President Mahinda Rajapaksa

*FTZ clash instigated with vested interests

*Incident motivated by handful of persons

*Political advantage the main aim

President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the clash that erupted at the Katunayake Free Trade Zone (FTZ) was instigated by certain political elements with vested interests even after the government had informed of its decision to the employees.

He said that it was an unfortunate incident spurred by a handful of persons with political motives. President Rajapaksa added that a certain group of persons attempted to gain political advantage by instigating the clash at the Katunayake FTZ.

President Rajapaksa was of the view that this incident could have been prevented, if this group heeded the government’s announcement which received wider publicity.

The President also said that the government proposed the pension scheme for the private sector with good intentions.

Addressing the National Scholarship Awards ceremony for children of migrant employees registered under the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) at Temple Trees yesterday, the President noted that the government has been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the welfare and better education for the children of Sri Lankan migrant workers. He also said that migrant workers make an immense contribution to the national economy of the country.

There are about 1.6 million Sri Lankan migrant employees who have been registered with the SLFEB and they send billions of foreign exchange to the country, he said.

President Rajapaksa also said that the government will discuss with the relevant stakeholders in the field on the proposed pension scheme for foreign employed persons, before proceeding with it.

Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Minister Dilan Perera, Ministry Secretary Col Nissanka N Wijeratne, Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena and SLFEB chairman Kingsley Ranawaka also spoke on the occasion. About 1,760 scholarships, ranging between Rs 15,000 to 30,000, were granted for Grade 5, O-L, A-L and university selected students.

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