By Steve A. Morrell
The plantation worker wage per day of Rs. 1000,approved by the government, would ensure a monthly income of Rs.25,000, worked out at 25 working days each month. But there is more than meets the eye in this situation.
Plantation sources informed us that apart from the wage, all allied benefits relevant to the wage, for example, extra earnings deriving from what are called ‘over kilos’, would not be applicable now. In consequence, the earning capacity of women, mainly, would be gravely affected. The plucking norm, usually set at 18 kilos or less, could be achieved by most pluckers. Kilos exceeding the norm earned Rs. 40 per kilo.
Accordingly, the take home wage, before the wage increase, would have been around Rs. 720, the basic daily wage, plus the ‘over kilos’ plucked. That is, if 30 kilos were plucked, each plucker would earn the basic wage plus the earnings from 12 extra kilos. This would amount to a total wage of about Rs. 1230 per day.
‘Over kilos’ exceeding the norm were achievable. More industrious pluckers could pluck as much as 20 kilos over the norm. Their daily income would amount to Rs.1550, on this basis. This sum multiplied by 25 working days would mean that such workers would have a take home wage of around Rs.38,750 per month.
However, the wage increase would deprive these workers of the ‘over kilos’ earnings, because the wage now applicable, and associated conditions, would not provide for such extra earnings.
This reporter’s requests to plantation trade unions for their comments on this issue did not elicit any responses.
The general view of most other sections was that limits placed on the take home wage would exacerbate an already acute man power crisis and provoke an accelerating exodus of young people from the plantations for jobs in cities. In consequence, the formal plantation sector, unable to cope with loss of man power, would be increasingly abandoning arable tea land. In some instances, as much as 100 to 200 hectares have been reportedly abandoned in each plantation, because of a lack of man power.
We also requested for responses from the tea smallholder sector and the tea factory owners. Both sections reported that they were ‘in disarray’. The tea smallholders were distributed fertilizer at heavily subsidized rates prompting over fertilizing. The consequences were soil degradation resulting in negative production results. The tea factory owners, already threatened with reduced production, are unable to cope with their loan payments. Some said they would have to close their factories.
Govt urged to unlock true potential of Sri Lanka’s Blue Economy
=Take initiatives to reap maximum benefit from our seafood resource
=Fisheries sector can quickly generate employment and export earnings
=Modernizing fisheries sector is a collective responsibility of the government
by Sanath Nanayakkare
Championing the Blue Economy is a relatively easy way out for Sri Lanka to generate employment and export earnings as Sri Lanka can hardly become an industrialized nation, Shiran Fernando, President- Canned Fish Manufacturers Association of Sri Lanka. (CFMASL) told the media last week.
“Concerted efforts need to be made to reap long-term benefits of the sustainable use of marine resources to promote economic growth and come out of the current economic crisis. Facilitating extensive fish farming, proper handling/storage, keeping the catch quite fresh for processing would be key in achieving this goal. The whole government should spearhead this endeavor without leaving the task to the Ministry of Fisheries alone. The fisheries ministry is hard put to find funds despite its willingness to help the private sector to take the industry to the next level. There is a role for the government to play in this exercise which the private investors can’t,” he said.
The outspoken entrepreneur said that the fisheries sector is not getting the attention it deserves from the government although the Minister of Fisheries and the Ministry Secretary are passionate about the industry and are supportive of the private sector investors.
“What we say is; it’s the duty of the government to modernize the practices of this industry by helping the fisher folk to completely transform their way of catching fish by enforcing regulations for responsible fishing, guiding them on protecting the marine ecosystem and providing them with modern fishing vessels with refrigeration technology. They still go out to see on old boats and can’t carry enough ice for fish preservation, therefore, a lot of fish is found to be less than perfect and is diverted for making dried fish. The government should invest in and encourage key innovations in fisheries such as modern boats, nets and cooling systems through appropriate financial arrangements or cluster schemes to fully utilize the catch. You may not be able to get everyone on board such projects, so get as many fisher folk as possible to join such schemes and get them to engage in the industry in a sustainable way with a long-term view. As canned fish manufacturers, we have fulfilled the pledge we made a few years ago that we would manufacture enough canned fish to meet the nation’s requirement. Currently 250,000 canned fish are consumed per day in the country. Now 5 factories of our Association produce 300,000 units of canned fish per day exceeding the daily requirement. Although the consumption had dropped in September-October last year, now it has stabilized with prices coming down. We thank the ministry for increasing the Special Commodity levy (SCL) by Rs. 100 on imported canned fish. We don’t ask the government to stop canned fish imports. Let the Sri Lankan consumers eat imported canned fish if they want to pay more. However, when you import the product that can lead to unemployment and underutilization of our seafood resource,” he said.
Fernando insisted on monitoring and regulating of canned fish companies that don’t carry SLS standards to create awareness in consumers and encourage them to buy local canned fish made in compliance with standards.
He said that his company’s (TESS Group of Companies) operations at currently inoperative Oluvil Harbour would begin soon.
“Our operation there will commence with over Rs 20 million spent on refurbishing the cold storage and factory that TESS Group built there long ago. Since this harbor has not been used for 12 years now, the harbor mouth needs re-dredging. If the government intervenes and does the needful, the area will be more viable for commercial fisheries and will create sustainable livelihoods opportunities for people in the area.”
He noted that if the government supports their Association for value added re-exports of canned fish, they can import raw fish and repack it as fillet fish Flounder (used in fish and chip recipes), Salmon fillet, Anchovy fillets etc., and thus supply to the high-end segment of the global market and increase the country’s export earnings.
“Sri Lanka is doing certain things right in the fisheries sector. We are on the right path, but we urge the authorities to pay more attention and adopt strategies to maximize the use of its vast oceanic resources,” he said.
ComBank upgrades Q+ Payment App to introduce ‘Send Money’ fund transfers facility
The Q+ Payment App, another state-of-the-art product of Commercial Bank of Ceylon, which uses a cutting-edge technology, has scaled new heights in technology-enabled convenience with the addition of several new features that enable different methods of fund transfers and flexible payment scheduling options similar to standing orders.
Customers who have linked their Commercial Bank cards to the Q+ Payment App can now send money to another locally-issued Visa and Mastercard Debit, Credit or Prepaid card, to a Commercial Bank or other local bank account or to any Payment Exchange Name (PEN) through any LankaPay-registered mobile number, directly from their registered cards in the App.
Notably, the Card-to-Card funds transfer feature is the first of its kind to be implemented via a payment application in Sri Lanka and is operated via the ‘Visa Direct’ and ‘Mastercard Send’ card-based fund transfer facilities. This user-friendly, two-step fund transfer method can be executed simply by keying in the card number of the recipient and the desired amount, the Bank said. Similarly, the Card-to-Account feature is equally convenient as the sender is require to select the recipient’s bank and then type the account number and amount to conclude the fund transfer. Q+ Payment App has also enabled a favourites tab to store recipient card and account particulars to perform future transactions even more conveniently.
Quickee shines as Online Brand of the Year at SLIM Brand Excellence 2022
Quickee, Sri Lanka’s favourite digital marketplace, was awarded Gold in the Online Brand of the Year category at the SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2022 held recently. This win is attributable to the way the brand transformed itself through Covid-19 amidst many challenges faced to offer an unmatched online shopping experience alongside its own delivery fulfillment service.
Quickee integrates a range of unparalleled products and services that are usually not offered by any other digital commerce platform in Sri Lanka. It has been able to maintain a strong execution capability of its brand promise, with top delivery speeds even during late evenings and after-hours serving any household across the country. Quickee promises a wide array of products and services with the fastest speed for a Sri Lankan online marketplace that delivers until 3 a.m.
Information Dept. media release: EC Chief asks public not to be misled
Cardinal urges Catholics to fight for justice
Protests against 13A used to arouse communal feelings – SJB
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
Opinion6 days ago
Private tuition Mafia and indifferent Education Ministry
Features6 days ago
First appearance in Toronto, Canada
Business6 days ago
Kumar celebrates ten years in Corporate Etiquette training
Midweek Review5 days ago
Westminster event declares support for Canadian action against Rajapaksa brothers
Opinion6 days ago
Indian offer – renewable energy
Sports6 days ago
Rusanda propels Petes to big score
Opinion4 days ago
Simple questions to Sirisena and Gotabaya
Opinion4 days ago
Nelum Kuluna poses danger to aircraft