Ports Authority overtime bill exceeds Rs.5 bn in 2021 | Daily News

Ports Authority overtime bill exceeds Rs.5 bn in 2021

Over 1,500 unqualified persons recruited

The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) chaired by Prof. Charitha Herath revealed that total overtime payment of the Ports Authority for 2021 was Rs.5.85 billion. Out of which Rs.1.17 billion was paid as overtime allowances for excess staff recruited.

It was revealed that over 1,500 unqualified persons had been recruited as work assistants and additional overtime allowances have been paid to them as well.

It has also been revealed that there are employees who receive over 400 hours of overtime per month.

Expressing his displeasure over the situation, the COPE Chairman stressed that this should never happen again and that only qualified persons should be recruited.

The COPE members also emphasized that it was the responsibility of all politicians, regardless of party affiliation, to allow recruitment based on merit alone without any political interference.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that although the number of employees approved by the Ports Authority did not exceed 9990, the recruitment process was informal and complex. The recruitment procedure (SOR) submitted by the Ports Authority in 2010 has not been approved by the Department of Management Services and the recruitment procedure and salary scale have been decided through collective agreements between the institution and the employees, the Ports Authority officials said. It was further revealed that the Ports Authority has not agreed to the recommendations of the Management Services Department and the Salaries Commission and has only approved the posts accordingly and the recruitment procedure (SOR) could not be approved as the relevant salary scales of the Authority are not approved.

The COPE Chairman emphasized that as the Port Authority is a local institution and it must follow proper processes within the legal framework applicable to other institutions, although the salary scale and the recruitment procedure are determined by collective agreements. The COPE Chairman recommended to the Secretary to the Ministry that if there are any specific reasons, they should be discussed and resolved expeditiously within the legal framework with the relevant agencies including the Department of Management Services and a proper decision should be taken immediately.

Discussions were also held regarding the non-payment of dividends and surplus money to the Consolidated Fund under the Monetary Act and the Ceylon Ports Authority Act.

From 2016 to 2021, the Authority spent Rs. 69,686 million but the Treasury has received only Rs. 600 million and some loan installments will be paid and a large sum will be spent on maintenance, Ports Authority Chairman said. He also appreciated the role of the Ports Authority as a for-profit institution and recommended that the Treasury should have paid a profit of 8% as per the Ports Act. There was also a discussion on the delay in starting work to purchase cranes for the operation of the Port East Container Terminal. The Chairman of the Ports Authority said that the purchase is scheduled to be completed by 2024. The COPE Committee stressed the need to expedite the process and expand the operational use of the terminal for commercial purposes.

The Committee also emphasized the need for a strong performance of the Internal Audit Division. The COPE Chairman also recommended that the audit plan for the year 2022 be sent to the COPE Committee.


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