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Samurdhi officers should be change agents: Dissanayake

Samurdhi officers should be change agents in order to cater to society. He or she should have the ability to work with the needy and be a friend to them. They should be an invitee to every event in villages such as weddings, funerals, and events at temples or other religious places and should be a helper and a supporter to the public to uplift their economy, lifestyles etc. He or she should have the capacity to design a development project to each family to alleviate poverty, and encourage them to be entrepreneurs, said Minister S. B. Dissanayake at the Puttalam army camp during a meeting with new Samurdhi officers who were engaged in a leadership training.

He further said, "Please keep in mind that we have chosen you through a competitive examination and a structural interview; not just by looking at your face, political party, surname, or any other reason. You have enough knowledge to cater to society. When we started the Samurdhi campaign in 1995, we were in a poor socio-economical background because of the terrorism in North by six armed groups, and the JVP in South. The Janasaviya Campaign was there in the country during that time, but outdated as needs changed. We studied the Samuel Undon from South Korea, Gramin from Bangladesh, Sewa from India etc. to develop our own campaign to suit our country. In 1995, we provided 24,000 Samurdhi appointments as Samurdhi officers."

"Those who have been appointed as Samurdhi officers for the first time in 1995, showed their fullest co-operation to the campaign. Their contribution was immense, as they dedicated their lives for the development of this campaign. Sometimes, they not only paid their time and strength, but some had given wood and resources which they owned. They had given loans sometimes under trees, shops etc. Our campaign currently has a strength of Rs. 200 billion. We have 331 main branches, 1,074 branches of banks etc. Unfortunately, for last 10 years, this campaign was not active, and failed to earn a good sum of money by investing in the right places. Because of that, we failed to earn about Rs. 200 billion for the campaign. We took the challenge and started to invest the money at good rates in reputed banks. Our aim is to provide leasing facilities, pawning facilities, and provide loans for less rates than micro-finance companies," the minster said.