The Governing Council of the President’s Fund convened on Tuesday at the Presidential Secretariat, chaired by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, after a four-year hiatus.
Comprised of seven members, the council comprises high-level officials from across the political spectrum, including the President, Prime Minister, Speaker, Leader of the Opposition, President’s Secretary, and two members appointed by the President. The Venerable Dr. Medagoda Abhayatissa Nayaka Thera is also an appointed member of the council.
All members attended the meeting except for the opposition leader, Mr. Sajith Premadasa. The meeting focused on implementing several special programs to enhance the services provided to the public through the President’s Fund, as directed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Funds for the President’s Fund are collected from the Development Lottery Board and various donors. Part of the proceeds is allocated to the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Fund. The President’s Fund has contributed significantly to the welfare of the public, particularly in providing medical aid to those suffering from serious illnesses with the primary objective of alleviating poverty.
Under the Fund Act, financial assistance is provided for surgery and medical treatment for various ailments. In line with the President’s instructions and the guidance of the President’s Secretary, necessary measures were taken to complete the medical aid requests received by the President’s Fund by 31st December 2022.
The applications were sorted and processed, and eligible beneficiaries received benefits, with more than Rs.1,717 million spent. To streamline the application process, the President’s Fund Secretary, Mr. Sarath Kumara, simplified the system to make it efficient, enabling applicants to receive benefits within a week.
Since the approved hospitals for providing medical benefits are concentrated in the vicinity of major cities, by starting the registration of hospitals located in rural areas, facilities have been provided to grant medical assistance to patients in remote areas to get treatment/surgeries from approved hospitals in rural areas.
Also, in addition to the diseases that have received financial support from the President’s Fund, the requests of patients have also been considered and new diseases have been registered with the recommendation of the Ministry of Health, which has benefited a large number of patients.
Taking into account the current economic situation and the cost of surgery/treatment, the maximum limits of medical aid paid for all diseases have also been increased.
Under this, the President’s Fund has also worked to assist low-income earners in various parts of the island to improve their livelihoods. | PMD Office