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22 February 2024

Rs6 billion spent annually to employ private sector workers

By Correspondent

Though the Sri Lankan Health Ministry employs more than 35,000 sanitary and other minor workers, around six billion Sri Lankan rupees per year is paid by the government for private security and janitorial service companies, for security and cleaning services in state-run hospitals.

The Island reported that the minor staff were recruited under the direct influence of some politicians to maintain cleaning and security services have been idling.

A Health Administrator, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed that some of them have been found to be engaged in various businesses during working hours inside hospitals.

The Health Ministry had filled the janitorial and security vacancies that existed in all state hospitals a few years ago, he said but due to the direct influence of some politicians it had been recruiting more and more.

The administrator pointed out that about 5,000 labourers, who were the supporters of various politicians, were being recruited every year.

Although they were designated as labourers, they refuse to attend to cleaning and security duty, thus, private companies are maintaining the security and janitorial services, he said.

To evaluate the recruitment procedure to see whether the recruitment was demand-based, need-based or evidence-based was the responsibility of the Ministry, he added while stressing, “It was obvious that the recruitment was only demand-based. It was an utter waste to spend six billion rupees annually on private security and cleaning service Companies, while thousands of Ministry employees are literally paid for doing no work.”

It was the policy of the Health Ministry, from over a decade ago, to recruit people to work in the security and janitorial services, Health Secretary Dr. Nihala Jayatihilaka but he told The Island that a decision had been taken to outsource the janitorial and security services in hospitals to private companies.

As those two categories had been deleted from the Health Ministry’s slot, he said that the Treasury had directed the Ministry to hire private sector janitorial and security personnel, in other word, those categories would not be paid by the Treasury.