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Decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on 25.10.2022

01. Bi-lateral aviation accord between Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Netherlands

The diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and the Kingdom of Netherlands were inaugurated
back in 1951 and an aviation accord may lead to initiating direct flights for passengers and
crates between the two countries. It may further develop tourist, education, trade, investment,
agricultural and cultural relations between the two countries. Therefore, the Cabinet of
Ministers granted approval to the resolution furnished by the Minister of Ports, Shipping and
Aviation to sign a bi-lateral aviation agreement based on the particulars agreed at the
discussions held between the two countries.

02. Declaration of the National Supply Chain Day

The entire process of converting raw - materials to end products is called the supply chain
management and it enables to maximize the customer value as well as to formalize the supply
sector activities of an enterprise actively for maximizing consumer value and for achieving
competitive profits within the market. The Institute of Supply and Material Management has
brought into attention the appropriateness of declaring a national supply chain day with the
objective of improving the awareness about the importance of developing the supply chains
among the local enterprises and entrepreneurs. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers granted
approval to the resolution submitted by the Minister of Industries for declaring the 24th October
of each year as the ‘National Supply Chain Day’

03. Providing incentives to emigrated employees who send remittances through legal means.

Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers has been granted by the decision on 08.08.2022 to provide
identified relief with the objective of encouraging the migrant Sri Lankan employees engaged
in overseas employment to send remittances through legal means. Accordingly, the Ministry
of Labour and Foreign Employments has issued the relevant circular in the regard and the
eligible migrant employees are facilitated to import a two – wheel electric vehicle subject to a
maximum of USD 25,000 and a four wheel fully electric vehicle subject to a maximum of
USD 65,000. The concurrence of the Cabinet of Ministers has been granted for the following
steps that have been taken with the objective of further encouraging the foreign exchange
earned by emigrant employees to be further remitted to Sri Lanka:
• Granting approval to import a two - wheel electric vehicle with a CIF value up to 50% from
the foreign exchange value remitted up to either 30.04.2023 or up to the date an application
is submitted for the import of a vehicle.
• Granting approval to import a four – wheel electric vehicle with the CIF value up to 50%
from the foreign exchange value remitted from 01.05.2022 to 31.12.2023 to this country.

04. Amendment of Licensing of Shipping Agents Act No. 10 of 1972.

The tanker operators’ regulations have been issued in the year 2005 subject to the provisions
in sections 8 to 10 of the Licensing of Shipping Agents Act No. 10 of 1972. The judiciary has
decided that the 10th regulation of that act should be revised and the approval of the Cabinet of
Ministers has been granted by the decision dated 04.07.2022 to introduce amendments required
to the Licensing of Shipping Agents Act No. 10 of 1972 including the relevant revisions.
Accordingly, the clearance of the Attorney – General has been granted for the draft bill
prepared by the Legal Draftsman. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to the
resolution furnished by the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation to publish the draft bill in
the government gazette and submit to the Parliament for the approval thereafter.

05. Amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedures Act (Chapter XXX Post-Mortems )

A committee headed by Prof. Ravindra Fernando was appointed to make recommendations
for suitable amendments to the existing laws, procedures and practices regarding the conduct
of post-mortems. The need for amending the Code of Criminal Procedure Act has been
identified to provide for the application of the recommendations of the said committee. The
Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal to amend the Code of Criminal Procedures Act,
presented by the Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms accordingly.

06. The Bill on the Singapore Convention on Mediation

The United Nations Convention on the International Settlement Agreement resulting from
Mediation alias the Singapore Convention on Mediation has been approved by the member
states at the United Nations General Assembly on 20.12.2018. Sri Lanka has signed the said
agreement on 07.08.2019 and domestic laws should be enacted to enforce it in Sri Lanka.
Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of
Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms to prepare a appropriate bill taking into
account the provisions of the relevant convention.

07. Validity period extension of the loan taken for National Transmission and Distribution
Network Development and Efficiency Improvement Project .

The agreement related to obtaining a loan of 24930 million Japanese Yen from the Japan
International Cooperation Agency for this project was signed on 11.08.2015 and the validity
period of the loan is scheduled to end on 28.10.2022. Due to the prevailing situation in the
country, the project could not be implemented as scheduled and the need of extending the
validity period of the relevant loan has arisen accordingly. As such, the Cabinet of Ministers
approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Power and Energy to extend the validity
period of the respective loan till 28.04.2026.

08. Revision of rooftop solar tariff rates

At present, about 580 megawatts have been added to the national grid through the system of
solar power plants installed on roofs. According to the long-term Generation Expansion
Plan prepared by the Electricity Board, it has identified the need to obtain another 1800 MW
of electrical capacity through this. A committee has been appointed to revise the electricity
purchase rates from approved solar power plants as an incentive. Accordingly the Cabinet of
Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Power and Energy to revise the
rates in accordance with the recommendation of the said Committee.

 •The country lost Rs. 700 billion due to wrong economic policies in the past
• The inflation rate increased to 70 per cent since Rs. 2,300 billion was printed during the past two and a half years.
• The country will have to revert to an era of queues if revenue is not raised through direct tax increases.

The Government is ready to implement prudent economic management after successful debt restructuring, emphasized President Ranil Wickremesinghe, when he delivered a special statement on tax policy today (19).

President Wickremesinghe further noted that it was not possible to strengthen the economy without increasing the revenue of the country, which will compel him to reluctantly make tough decisions in order to rebuild the nation.

The full statement by President Ranil Wickremesinghe is as follows;

An important step in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring program took place last week. A team under the Minister of State for Finance participated in the Annual (October 07) meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In that instance, a meeting was convened by the IMF, with the lending and international private institutions to Sri Lanka.

Over 75 persons participated both in person and through zoom technology. The main objective of this meeting was for the three main countries that have granted loans to Sri Lanka, namely Japan, China and India, to come together on a common platform to discuss the future steps in the formulation of concessions.

During this meeting, the IMF and Sri Lanka pointed out the need for a common platform. India and China have informed that they will examine the issues further and respond accordingly. These two countries have also informed the possible need for bilateral discussions in this regard.

Many other countries also participated in this meeting, including the attendance of an Assistant Secretary of the United States Treasury. All this was possible due to the implementation of the decisions taken in consultation with the IMF.

There is an aspect about the income of the Government of Sri Lanka which need to be noted. In 2015, during a visit to Sri Lanka the IMF representatives underlined the need or a surplus in the primary budget. Therefore, it was provided for in 2017-2018. However, it was reduced in 2019 due to the Easter Sunday bombings. However, there were no serious repercussions. The IMF was optimistic that Sri Lanka would be able to increase its revenue, since there was a surplus in the primary budget.

At that juncture, Sri Lanka’s income was between 14.5% – 15% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, it was agreed that Sri Lanka could gradually increase this to 17%-18%.

However, in November 2019, the country’s taxes were drastically reduced, with the Government revenue decreasing to 8.5%. In this context, the IMF set aside the agreements and declared that it was unable to provide the agreed assistance.

That year the Government lost approximately Rs. 600-700 billion as revenue. Simultaneously, the country had to face the Covid-19 pandemic. These issues are the main factors that led to the collapse of Sri Lanka’s economy.

The IMF advised the need for a surplus in Sri Lanka’s primary budget. It was agreed to, since the country needs the support of the IMF.

It was also decided to increase the country’s income from 8.5% to 14.5% of the GDP. However, it is a difficult task to accomplish immediately, it is envisaged to achieve this by 2026.

Initially, a decision had to be taken on the manner in which the income is to be increased. Money was printed due to the decrease in income. During the past two years, Rs. 2300 billion has been printed, resulting in inflation rising to 70% – 75% and even more in respect of food inflation.

These increases need to be controlled, while securing income. Therefore, during the discussions with the IMF a new tax system has been proposed. The IMF informed that even the export industries would be required to pay taxes.

The IMF pointed out that in countries with an export economy, the related industries were liable for tax. The IMF also upheld that Sri Lanka’s primary export economy is based on the plantation industry. During British rule, taxes were charged from every plantation sector, including tea, coconut and rubber. Therefore, if the country has to move towards that goal, taxes will have to be paid. The export sector has now questioned this aspect and the related concerns are to be submitted to the IMF.

The second issue regarding the personal tax structure. The majority of tax revenue is through indirect taxation. The majority of the country’s citizens, even those below the poverty line, had no choice but to pay indirect taxes. The direct tax revenue is 20% and 80% has been derived from indirect taxes.
The IMF that particularly had reservations in this regard were of the view that the amount of tax obtained through direct taxes should exceed 20%. The IMF noted that otherwise this would not be successful and ordinary citizens would need to pay taxes.

Therefore, according to this framework, and also to achieve the goals of 2026, the Treasury and the IMF discussed the possibility of limiting the taxation from those who have an income of Rs. 200,000, which however, did not materialize. Eventually, this has resulted in the decision to levy income tax on people earning over 100,000. Today, this has become a vital concern amongst the citizens.

Against this backdrop, without this tax system, the desired goal will not be achieved. The agreed goal is to achieve 14.5% – 15% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) revenue by 2026.

If Sri Lanka withdraws from this program, IMF assistance will not be received. Without IMF certification, the support of these international financial institutions such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and the countries that have supported financially will not be forthcoming. If that happens, the country will be back to the era of queues.

Tougher times ahead will have to be faced. Therefore, these loans need to be obtained and embark on a debt-restructuring program. These decisions are not being taken wilfully, but are being done reluctantly. However, these decisions will be reconsidered periodically.

In the same manner of conducting the debt restructuring program successfully, if a bountiful Maha season is achieved as expected, it will help in reducing economic pressure. Measures to increase the country’s foreign reserves has also been discussed and once all these steps have been implemented the country can move forward.

The country at this juncture is facing a difficult period. Expectedly tough decisions have to be taken during these difficult times. I undertook this challenge when no one else was willing to come forward. Therefore, it is my responsibility to explain the background of the related issues and the Government is also ready to discuss this further if required.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has issued instructions for the final rites of the late Anuradhapura Atamasthanadhipathi, North Central Province Chief Sanghanayaka Most Venerable Dr Pallegama Sirinivasa Thera, to be held under full state sponsorship.

Accordingly, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a committee comprising the Governor of the North Central Province Maheepala Herath and Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Vidura Wickramanayaka to coordinate the state funeral of Venerable (Dr) Pallegama Siriniwasa Thera, Custodian and Chief Priest of the Maha Bodhi and Atamasthana Adhipathi of Anuradhapura.

Most Venerable Pallegama Sirinivasa Thera, who played a leading role among the Maha Sangha of this country, spent his monastic life meaningfully, constantly dedicating himself to the welfare of the people of Rajarata as well as the whole country.

President Media Division (PMD)

 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has issued instructions for the final rites of the late Anuradhapura Atamasthanadhipathi, North Central Province Chief Sanghanayaka Most Venerable Dr. Pallegama Sirinivasa Thera, to be held under full state sponsorship.
Accordingly, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a committee comprising the Governor of the North Central Province Maheepala Herath, and Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Vidura Wickramanayaka to coordinate the state funeral of Venerable (Dr) Pallegama Siriniwasa Thera, Custodian and Chief Priest of the Maha Bodhi and Atamasthana Adhipathi of Anuradhapura.
Most Venerable Pallegama Sirinivasa Thera, who played a leading role among the Maha Sangha of this country, spent his monastic life meaningfully, constantly dedicating himself to the welfare of the people of Rajarata as well as the whole country.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu who is currently on an official visit to Sri Lanka met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe and assured to support Sri Lanka during this difficult period.

While appreciating the President’s efforts in rebuilding Sri Lanka’s economy he said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe is the right person to get the country out of the present crisis & assured him that he has a force backing him.

He also stated that the U.S. government would continue to assist Sri Lanka with their negotiations with the IMF and the debt restructuring talks.

These remarks were made during the discussion that took place this evening (19) at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.

During the discussion President Wickremesinghe also expressed his appreciation to the US Government for their continuous support towards Sri Lanka.

The Assistant Secretary further stated that the US government is expected to provide all possible support to Sri Lanka and its people in this difficult period and welcomed the President’s efforts in regard to reconciliation and strengthening of the Democratic institutions.

The US Ambassador to t Sri Lanka Julie Chung and Political and Economic Advisor Susan Walke were also present at this discussion.

Decisions of the Cabinet of Ministers taken at their meeting held on 17.10.2022


01. State Asset Management Bill


During the budget speech delivered by the Hon. President for amending the appropriation
bill for the financial year 2022, it was suggested to introduce several new acts with the
the objective of strengthening the economy, enhancing the efficiency of the government
service as well as product management of government-owned resources and the
requirement of revising provisions of several existing acts. Accordingly, the Cabinet of
Ministers approved the proposal furnished by the Hon. President as the Minister of
Finance, Economic Stabilization, and National Policies instruct the Legal Draftsman to
draft a bill in order to introduce a new act for the management of public assets including
appropriate provisions so that provisions will be available to expand the duties of the
Comptroller General Office which is under the purview of the General Treasury and to
provide legitimacy to it as well as prepare a national assets register and introduce a
central database related to state assets.


02. Revision of the Ayurveda Act (Indigenous Medicine Act)


The Ayurveda Act No. 31 of 1961 has been amended from time to time on several
occasions previously and it has been recognized that the act required to be amended further
to cater to the requirements of the day so that sustainable development goals can be
achieved. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval for the proposal
furnished by the Minister of Health to amend the Ayurvedha act including appropriate
provisions for expanding services of the Department of Ayurveda for the upliftment of the
indigenous medicine sector and activities such as the establishment of Osu Uyna (medicinal
gardens) for research purposes.


03. The Recovery of Possession of the Premises Given on Lease (Special Provisions) Act.


The Cabinet of Ministers gave approval on 27.09.2021 to the draft bill to enact a new
law in place of Recovery of Possession of the Premises Given on Lease (Special
Provisions) Act. The Attorney general’s clearance has been received for the bill prepared
accordingly by the legal draftsman. The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal
presented by the Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reforms to publish
the bill in the Govt. gazette and to table it in parliament for approval consequently.


04. Establishment of the National People’s Council Secretariat for the formation of the
People’s Council to strengthen participatory democracy.


It has been revealed that due to the gap between the center of governance and the people
of the periphery, the representative democratic structures that have been operating in Sri
Lanka does not pay due attention to public opinion sufficiently in the policy and
the decision-making process and since the people's real issues are not adequately addressed,
social criticism is arising in this regard. Based on this, it has also been seen that opinions
and objections against representative democracy are emerging in society. Under that
the situation, the need for a strong mechanism where public officials and the public can discuss
rural issues together, determine development priorities and rural people can participate in
the decision-making process in an organizational structure where participatory democracy
is practiced at the rural level has emerged. It will be possible to effectively and efficiently
prevent public oppression that may occur due to bureaucracy and arbitrary politicization
through an organized mechanism that actively finds public opinions for public policy
formulation and implement those policies with community participation. The National
Movement for a Just Society has accordingly presented a concept paper on " People’s
Council System" with an independent institutional structure where public participation can
be ensured for the formulation of public policies and the successful implementation of
those policies. The concept paper also proposed the establishment of the “National People's
Council and "Village People’s Councils " to cover every Grama Niladhari Division in the
Island. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Hon.
President to accept the proposed People’s Council system as a fundamental policy and
to establish the "National People’s Council Secretariat" as the national-level independent
central institution for establishing the People’s Councils system.


05. Establishment of Cabinet Sub-Committee on Reconciliation.


The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Hon. President to
establish the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Reconciliation chaired by the President and
consisting of the following members in order to promote reconciliation between the various
sections of the population in Sri Lanka and to propose solutions to the problems faced by
the people regarding resettlement, land, and missing persons after the conflict in the North
East
• Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena – Prime Minister
• Hon. Douglas Dewananda – Minister of Fisheries
• Hon. Dr. Wijayadasa Rajapaksha – Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs and
Constitutional Reforms
• Hon. Ali Sabry – Minister of Foreign Affairs

 

Decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on the 10.10.2022


01. Allocation of plots of lands for the establishment of industries from regional industrial zones
where that infrastructure facilities have been developed.


The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal furnished by the Minister of Industries to allocate
16 plots of land under long – term lease basis for 35 years for 16 investors recognized under the
regional industrial zone development programme as recommended by the project evaluation
committee in operation under the Regional Industrial Services Committees that has been established
as per the provisions of the Industries Promotion Act No. 46 of 1990 and the Ministry of Industries.


02. Making of one - time Payment for the welfare of the families of missing persons


Based on the certificate of missing issued by the Registrar General for the families of the missing
persons, it was decided at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on 14.03.2022 to pay a sum
of rupees 100,000/- to the closest relative of the missing person. However, due to taking a long time
to obtain the certificate of missing, as well as the amount of rupees 100,000/- not being sufficient,
the Cabinet of Ministers approved the resolution submitted by the Minister of Justice, Prisons Affairs
and Constitutional Reforms to ignore the requirement of obtaining the certificate of missing if the
compensation secretariat has confirmed that the relevant person is missing and to pay an increased
amount of rupees 200,000/- as compensation.


03. Provision of a plot of land belonging to the Urban Development Authority on long – term lease
in order to implement a rest house development project.


A proposal has been submitted to provide the land at No. 09, Kareithivu Road, Jaffna which belongs
to the Urban Development Authority to Grand Mountain Hotel Co. on a lease for 30 years with a
view to implement a rest house development project. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved
the proposal submitted by the Minister of Urban Development and Housing for providing the said
land to Grand Mountain Hotel Pvt. Ltd. on a lease for 30 years with a view to implement a rest house
development project subject to relevant conditions.


04. Submission of regulations issued under the Import and Export (Control) Act No. 1 of 1969 for
the approval of the Parliament.


Import and Export (Control) Regulations No. 15 of 2002 relevant to the import of goods under open
accounting system as well as the Import and Export (Control) Regulations No. 16 of 2002 with a
view to encouraging financial remittances performed by Sri Lankans serving overseas countries have
been imposed. Accordingly, the import export regulations No. 15 of 2002 imposed for empowering
imports under the payment systems of open accounts / payment of money after sale of goods basis
in relation to import of essential fool items including milk powder and red legumes / dhal and poultry
food products has been published in the Extraordinary Gazette notification No. 2297 / 79 dated
16.09.2022. Further to that, the import export regulations No. 16 of 2022 imposed for enabling the
Sri Lankans employed overseas to import totaly electric vehicles as a method of encouraging them
has been published in the Extraordinary Gazette notification No. 2298/55 of 23.09.2022.
Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to the resolution furnished by the Hon.
President as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to submit the
aforementioned import and export regulations to the Parliament for its concurrence.


05. Amendments to Civil Procedure Code (Statute 101) (Section 205)


Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted at their meeting held on 18.01.2022 for drafting a
bill to amend the Civil Procedure Code (Statute 101) (Section 205) which is applicable to provision
of certified copies of decree nisi or decree absolute to the parties of a court case. Accordingly,
clearance of the Attorney General has been granted for the draft bill which has been prepared by the
Legal Draftsman. Therefore, the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted to the proposal of
the Minister of Justice, Prisons Affairs and Constitutional Reforms to publish the said draft bill in
the government gazette notification and thereby to table it in the Parliament.


06. Introducing a new Legal Deposit Act in place of former Legal Deposit Law.


The National Archives Department is responsible for the systematic management and preservation
of evidentiary documents and private documents of public authorities that reflect the written history
and cultural identity of Sri Lanka. The department implements 3 Acts namely Newspaper Ordinance
No. 5 of 1839, Printers and Publishers Ordinance No. 1 of 1885 and Press Ordinance No. 16 of 1902
in relation to the legal deposit of such printed publications. Accordingly, the legal copies of the
relevant documents are kept in the custody of the National Archives Department. Accordingly, the
legal copies of the relevant documents are in the custody of the department of national archives. Out
of 131 countries in the world, the law in effect in Sri Lanka is the oldest deposit law. The need to
amend the said law to suit the current needs has been recognized. A committee of relevant subject
experts has prepared a preliminary draft for this purpose based on the opinions of the relevant parties
from the year 2018. Accordingly the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the
minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs to advise the legal draftsman to prepare
bill to introduce a new Legal Deposit Act to Sri Lanka based on the said preliminary draft.


07. Purchase of 80 Ton Bollard Pull Twin Azimuth Stern Drive Harbour Tug Vessel for Port
Authority


Currently, there are 7 tugboats that are functioning well in the port of Colombo. It has been identified
that one more tug vessel of 80 ton capacity should be procured for future operations. The Cabinet of
Ministers approved the proposal presented by the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation to take
necessary steps for procurement of tug vessel following international competitive bidding process.


08. Awarding the Contract for Automated Crew Scheduling and Resource Management System
for Sri Lankan Airlines.


Commercial airlines around the world operate Automated Crew Scheduling and Resource
Management Systems. The contract period of the current system of SriLankan Airlines will end on
31.10.2022. Therefore, the international competitive bidding system is being adopted to procure a
suitable service provider. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by
the Minister of Ports Shipping and Aviation to award the relevant procurement to CAE Flight
Services USA, Inc. company for a period of 5 years as recommended by the Cabinet appointed
Standing Procurement committee.


09. Awarding the construction contract of National College of Education of Technology to be built
in Narangalla, Kuliyapitiya with Korean aid and local funds


The Cabinet of Ministers has granted approval on 18.01.2017 for the construction of a National
College of Education of Technology in Narangalla, Kuliyapitiya with the aid of Korean government
and the local funds. Until the end of November 2021, it has not been possible to commence the
construction work assigned to the Korean International Cooperation Agency due to various
reasons. Korean International Cooperation Agency has agreed to assign these construction works
to Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau as a direct contract. The Cabinet of Ministers approved
the proposal presented by the Minister of Education to assign this contract to the Central
Engineering Consultancy Bureau accordingly


10. Road Reconstruction Project, Suriyakanda- Rakwana (A017) section of Deniyaya-Madampe
road in Galle


A loan agreement has been entered into with the OPEC Fund for International Development for the
reconstruction of the road section Suriyakanda- Rakwana (A017) of Deniyaya-Madampe road in
Galle. The renovation work of that road section is planned to be done under 3 contract packages
and out of these 2 packages are under the authority of the Ministry Procurement Committee. The
other package is under the authority of the Cabinet of Ministers. Accordingly the cabinet of ministers
approved the proposal presented by the minister of Transport and Highways to award the contract
package under the cabinet authority to K.D.A.Weerasinghe & Pvt. Ltd. upon the recommendation
of cabinet appointed standing procurement committee.


11. Enhancement of substitution allowance paid on maternity leave for female sub postmasters.


According to the Sri Lanka Sub-Postmaster Service Constitution, a Sub-Postmaster is entitled to
maternity leave subject to employing a substitute at her own expense. It seems that many maternity
Sub-Postmasters limit their maternity leave to only 30 days as they have to hire a substitute at their
own expense for this period. Medical recommendation is that a child should be breastfed for at least
6 months. The recommendation of the World Health Organization is the same. Accordingly the
Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the minister of mass media to pay an
allowance of 84 days instead of the present allowance of 30 days to female Post Masters.

 

The birthday of the Prophet Muhammad who is venerated by the Sri Lankan Muslims as well as the Muslim brethren around the world is celebrated today (09).
It is my belief that doctrine of Prophet Muhammad as the religious leader of the Islamic devotees around the world will help to alleviate the situation in the society today more than ever before.
To live with the qualities that Prophet Muhammad preached and deal with others with a sense of understanding is a tribute to him rather than attempting to overcome them.
The coming of the Prophet Muhammad and his vision signified the protection of the entire human community as well as their respect. By molding one’s life in accordance with the teaching of Prophet Muhammad, one can achieve success not only spiritually but also socially.
I wish that the birthday of Prophet Muhammad who was also called Al-Amin or ‘the trusted one’ will lead to spiritual and social progress and peace of all the nations including the Sri Lankan Muslims and Muslim brethren around the world.
Ranil Wickremesinghe

 
President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized that if the country is to overcome the current challenges, stability must be created in the country, and in order to achieve that, accurate information must be circulated among the public.
Pointing out that nothing can be achieved without propaganda, the President called on all the media secretaries to commit to revealing the government’s ‘Rebuilding the Country’ program to the people without delay.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe said this while addressing the workshop held today (07) at the Government Information Department to apprise the press secretaries of all cabinet ministers, state ministers and governors about the state communication mechanism.
It is noteworthy that the President joined the event without prior notice.
The President noted that ministry press secretaries hold the prime responsibility in publicizing the development and policy programs of the government, and in this workshop, the press secretaries were informed about the importance of maintaining optimal coordination between the Government Information Department, the President Media Division and the Ministries to maintain a strong state communication mechanism.
President Wickremesinghe further commented,
“Holding such workshops is timely. I do not expect to comment at length here. I have spoken enough. Now it is time to convey the essence of my utterances to the country. The program of the government has to be conveyed to the country. We are facing very difficult times. I don’t think such a situation has been faced during the 20th century or even prior to that. We have to get out of this. Many people have lost hope. We must correct that situation. We have to publicize the government’s program.
.
We are aware of the problems that the country is facing. Even if we cannot find solutions for all the problems, still, we are aware of those problems. This message should be carried to the people.
Everyone should be aware of what the government is undertaking. If there are mistakes, they should be corrected. We need to get out of this problematic period. If there is instability in the country, we will not recover. There should be stability in the country. It is necessary to provide the correct information to create that stability.
Unlike Print and electronic media, currently, we are all facing social media problems. It carries positive as well as negative information, which is one of the major problems that the entire world is facing. This bad impact affects us, especially at this time. Therefore, it is the responsibility of each and every one of you to address this challenge appropriately. If you do not accomplish your responsibility, the whole country will face more problems. The reason that you are here today is for you to understand this message. I learned that all media secretaries have been invited to this workshop. However, according to the attendance sheet, only about 83% have participated in this workshop. We need to find out who was not present today. Since these people have a responsibility of conveying news to the media and how to correct the misconceptions, there is a major publicity campaign in this regard. Nothing succeeds without publicity.
In addition, there are numerous other programs. You should be aware of that too. The programs such as the 75th Anniversary of Independence in 2023. According to the idea of the former Speaker, forming of Public Councils (Jana Sabha) will take place next week. There is a great responsibility in organizing such programs. It is important to get publicity for these programs.
Also, I have suggested to convene this group once in 03 months and discuss with them. I would like to thank the chiefs in charge of our media departments who are conducting this program as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Lankadeepa.”
Minister Bandula Gunawardena, State Minister Shanta Bandara, Senior Media Adviser to the President Prof. Sunanda Maddumabandara, Director General of President Media Division Dhanushka Ramanayake, Chairman of the Independent Television Network Attorney-at-law Sudarshana Gunawardena and Editor in Chief of Lankadeepa Siri Ranasinghe were presented at this workshop which was organized under the guidance of the Director General of Government Information Dinith Chinthaka Karunaratne.

Decisions of the Cabinet of Ministers taken at their meeting held on 03.10.2022

01. Establishment of a ‘Food Policy Committee’


The Government has recently implemented a multi – sector mechanism with the objective of
formulating a strategy that aligns from the grassroots level to the upper level when taking
decisions on ensuring food security as well as nutrition. The said mechanism ensures the
guidance as well as the supervision for the entire mechanism of essential food production and
distribution and the capability of obtaining essential food rations for those liable to be
discriminated within the society at various administrative levels. The Cabinet of Ministers
approved the memorandum submitted by President Ranil Wickremesinghe for the
establishment of the ‘Food Policy Committee’ with the participation of heads of the relevant
institutions and chaired by the Secretary to the President in order to build trust among
producers, traders as well as customers on monitoring the supply chains within the country as
well as the short–term issues prevailing with regard to supply, prices and marketing with a
view to implementing the mechanism formally and efficiently and to implement other long–
term programmes.


02. Amendment of the Age of Retirement of employees in State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)


As proposed by the Supplementary Budget 2022 passed by Parliament, the compulsory
Retirement Age of employees serving in State - Owned Enterprises (SOEs) is to be revised as
60 years. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to the proposal submitted
by President Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and
National Policies in order to issue a circular in this regard with effect from 01.01.2023.
03. Procurement of Muriate of Potash fertilizer required for Maha Season of 2022 / 23.
Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers has been granted at their meeting held on 20.06.2022
for the procurement of 40,000 metric tons of Muriate of Potash (MOP) for the Maha Season
of 2022 / 23 utilizing funds amounting to US$ 50 million provided by the Asian Development
Bank (ADB). Accordingly, the prescribed procurement process has been followed and, the
Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to the memorandum submitted by the Minister of
Irrigation for awarding the relevant contract to Ameropa Asia Pvt. Ltd. subject to the
recommendations of the Standing Procurement Committee appointed by the Cabinet of
Ministers.


04. Revision of Customs Ordinance and Protection of Government Revenue (Special
Provisions) Act No.1 of 2006.


Cabinet approval has been granted previously to amend Sections 47 and 57 of the Customs
Ordinance and Section 3 of the Protection of Government Revenue (Special Provisions)
Act No.1 of 2006. The State Accounts Committee has pointed out the need for revising
Section 153 of the Customs Ordinance as the Government revenue from the confiscation of
goods and imposition of penalties has been significantly decreased due to the provisions of
the said Section of the Customs Ordinance. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved
the proposal presented by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Minister of
Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to take necessary steps to further
amend the Customs Ordinance by introducing appropriate provisions.


05. School lunch programme


The Government annually implements the school lunch programme aiming at 1.08 million
students in 7,926 schools spending Rs. 4 billion. Under the policy of eradicating poverty, the
Government expects to immediately implement programmes aimed at addressing concerns
raised over nutrition. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to the proposal
submitted by President Ranil Wickremesinghe for taking appropriate steps to provide a
wholesome lunch to another one million school students, further extending the school lunch
programme which is already being implemented based on district - level data on poverty and
nutrition.


06. Submission of the draft Appropriation Bill for the Financial Year (FY) 2023 to
Parliament.


Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers has been granted to draft the draft of the Appropriation
Bill for the Financial Year (FY) 2023 at their meeting held on 22.08.2022. Accordingly, the
Cabinet of Ministers considered the draft Appropriation Bill for the Year 2023 in relation to
each Expenditure Head. The total Recurrent Expenditure for the Year 2023 has been estimated
as Rs. 4,634 billion while total Capital Expenditure has been estimated at Rs. 3,245 billion.
Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers granted approval to the proposal submitted by President
Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National
Policies to submit to Parliament the draft Appropriation Bill for the Year 2023, after
publishing the same in the Government Gazette

 

President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the London Buddhist Vihara on September 20, during his visit to the United Kingdom (UK) to attend the State Funeral Service of the late HM Queen Elizabeth II.
He made a courtesy call on Ven. Dr. Bogoda Seelawimala Thera, Chief Incumbent of the Vihara and the Chief Sangha Nayaka of Great Britain and engaged in a brief discussion.
During the meeting Ven. Seelawimala Thera chanted Pirith and invoked blessings on the President and the people of Sri Lanka.

The Ministerial Consultative Committee on Mass Media approved to present the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (Amendment) Bill to Parliament for its Second Reading Sep (16).

The approval for the afore said was obtained at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Mass Media which met in Parliament under the chairmanship of the Hon. (Dr.) Bandula Gunawardana.

This Bill aims to amend the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation Act No. 06 of 1982. Accordingly, on the 22 nd , the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (Amendment) Bill is expected to be passed in Parliament following the second reading debate.

Furthermore, discussions were held regarding the need to make the National Film Corporation profitable and the need to bring forward the independent television service and the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation ahead in its rating reports. Discussion was also held regarding the spread of misleading news by various media organizations and the measures that can be taken for that.

State Ministers Hon. Shantha Bandara, Hon. Kanaka Herath, Hon. Siripala Gamlath, Hon. Geetha Kumarasinghe, and Members of Parliament Hon. S. M. Marikkar, Hon. Sanjeeva Edirimanna, Hon. Upul Mahendra Rajapaksha, Hon. Asanka Navaratne, Hon. Mohomad Muzammil, Hon. UK Sumith Udukumbura, Hon. Madhura Withanage, Hon. Jagath Kumara, Hon. Yadamini Gunawardena were present at this committee meeting held.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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