Sri Lanka’s army has decided to vacate posts of over 16,000 military personnel on a budget proposed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe as the island nation struggling to reduce government spending ahead of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.
President WIckremesinghe last month proposed to give voluntary early retirement for military personnel in order to reduce the spending on military and train retired military personnel for other skills aiming to use the human resources for the country’s economy.
Ministry of Defence declared general amnesty for the Tri-Forces absentees, enabling legal discharge from the respective services. The period of general amnesty is in force from 15 November 2022 until 31 December 2022.
Ministry of Defence notified that the Tri-Forces absentees who are presently overseas are also eligible to receive a legal discharge from their respective services without reporting to the unit during declared General Amnesty period.
Army Spokesman Ravi Herath said so far 16,141 personnel including officers and other rank soldiers have applied for the amnesty.
“Some 21 officers and 15,838 other ranks have given medical and security clearance and we have given them the resignation letters,” Herath told EconomyNext.
“Also 179 more have come to their respective brigades and the clearances are being issued to them”.
Herath said, the government gave the permission for all military personnel before October 25 to voluntarily leave service, regardless of the time period they had not been in the service through applying for amnesty.
“We also have 12 officers and 96 other rankers who are in abroad, who applied. Those applications are also being processed,” Herath said.
According to Herath, when an army officer does not return on a specific date mentioned after his vacation period, salaries will not be processed and aft personnel will be removed from service and will not be enlisted back.
The Air force Media Spokesman, Group Captain Dushantha Wijesinghe, said 983 Air Force personnel applied for amnesty and 732 were given clearance.
It is not clear how many were cleared by the Navy.