The agreements for the construction of 500 rural bridges were signed on 17th May 2018 at 5.00 pm at the Cinamon Lake side hotel.
The Deputy Ambassador of the Netherlands, Head of Commerce of the Embassy of the United Kingdom,  State Minister, Provincial Councils & Local Government , Secretary of Local Government and Provincial Councils Secretary of Highways members of the Media and invitees were present.
Addressing the gathering Hon Minister Faiszer Musthapha said :-

“When I first visited an area in relation to the rural bridge program I saw connectivity taking place, There was a village here one had to walk 7 mile to be connected but with the construction of the rural bridge there was connectivity. So one has to go the rural area to  see the benefit to the masses by the rural bridge program. That is why when I was speaking to the Deputy Ambassador of the Netherlands I mentioned to her that we should go one day and see the benefit to the masses. So I think this Government has done a lot Sometimes our communication strategy is not that great but the masses of this country are fully aware what we have achieved.
With regard to the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils at the time I took this Ministry this ministry was not in the Media spot light but as you know due to the Local Government Elections the provincial council election and also the policy adopted by me that we should do  development in every part of the country I am proud to say that our Ministry has done over 2000 development programs and we have got physical progress of 91 % of the funds  obtained by the Ministry and we have the 4th largest budget in the country. Thanks to my Secretary and the Ministry staff and also the support I get from my state Minister

she is fully aware of the hardships of the rural masses as she represents one of the most difficult and poverty stricken areas of the country the Eastern province. So we have a good communication we work as a family and therefore we achieved a lot.
Then with regard to the Local Loans Development fund and the Sri Lanka institute of Local Government you know that members of local bodies need to be trained because once you win an election you need a certain amount of knowledge of Governance even at Local level and provincial level even at Parliamentary level and SLI LG is the only institution which can give that training I am very thankful to the USAID because  they came forward and they helped us publish a hand book and we believe that we need to give our local Government members the right direction because even with regard to Governance education is key when you continually guide them with regard to new trends and new leaning.We have a bank under our purview when we grant Local Bodies loans as you know Local bodies in Sri Lanka are not self sufficient because they are very dependent on hand outs we want to move away from that tendency because if you look at Global trends Local bodies give the treasury money we need to develop local bodies to be commercially viable because local bodies have a good asset base. There asset base is under utilized and we should look at viable commercial models I have always told my Secretary that we should move away from giving handouts to make all the local bodies self sufficient by giving them the necessary technical support and guidance and move away from grants to loans. In fact I continuously told the Government that we want to move away from this model we are looking at matching funds in one direction and we are looking at Global trends in Governance of local bodies. Unfortunately when you look at Governance in Local bodies at Local body level there are lot of issues to be resolved efficiency corruption at local body level has to be addressed”.

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