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  • Some individuals are accustomed to taking every issue to court.
  • The development of the country cannot be achieved through constant litigation; it must be driven by a cohesive national policy – The President remarks at the Opening of the International Industry Expo 2024.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced the establishment of a new development bank aimed at providing financial support to industrialists in Sri Lanka. This initiative will offer industrialists the opportunity to obtain loans at low interest rates.

Additionally, the President revealed plans to set up an Economic Commission to oversee these activities. A new institution, “Enterprise Sri Lanka,” will also be created to empower small and medium-sized entrepreneurs.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe made this announcement during the inauguration of the International Industry Expo 2024, the first event of its kind in Sri Lanka.

Organized by the Industrial Development Board under the guidance of the Ministry of Industry, and with the support of Industries and Health Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, the exhibition will run from today until June 23 at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike International Conference Hall.

Over a thousand international industrial entrepreneurs from various countries, along with local large-scale and medium-scale industrialists, are participating in this event. The expo features 1,307 exhibition booths, with the special inclusion of a separate green industrial zone for the first time. Additionally, an experimental academic conference on green industrialization will be held during the exhibition.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe inaugurated the International Industry Expo 2024 by cutting the ribbon and the President engaged in a tour of the exhibition.

In his address, the President remarked that some individuals have become accustomed to taking every development initiative to court. He emphasized that such actions hinder progress and stressed that the country can only be developed through a consistent national policy.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s complete speech is outlined below,

Minister of Industries and Health Ramesh Pathirana is diligently spearheading the development of the industrial sector in the country, with the industry exhibition being a significant initiative under his stewardship. It stands as the largest exhibition in the country.

We were once a bankrupt nation. However, in the coming weeks, we anticipate shedding this label entirely. Negotiations for the related agreement are also slated for completion in the near future, facilitating smoother dealings with private creditors. These achievements have been realized over the past two years.

Yet, we must not rest on these achievements. Our focus must now shift to debt repayment strategies, as we aim to settle outstanding loans over an extended period, ideally extending until 2042.

Given that we are primarily an import-based economy, we continually need foreign exchange to cover these imports. Without sufficient foreign exchange reserves, we are compelled to resort to taking loans. However, this practice can potentially lead to another economic crisis within the next 15-20 years. Hence, our current focus is on transitioning to an export-oriented economy.

In this shift towards an export-oriented economy, the manufacturing sector plays a pivotal role. This sector needs to evolve into a competitive and digital economy, aligned with our goal of achieving zero carbon emissions and fostering a green economy. These initiatives must guide our efforts moving forward.

Our immediate priority is to enhance the competitiveness of existing industries through strategic plans. Achieving competitiveness cannot happen overnight; neighbouring countries like India, particularly in states such as Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, have made significant strides in industrial development. It is crucial for us to align and collaborate with these developments. Furthermore, we aim to engage with other global partners to advance these objectives.

Therefore, our primary objective is to ensure our industries attain competitive capabilities. The government is committed to providing all necessary support to facilitate this transformation.

We are currently exploring the establishment of a development bank to facilitate the required funding for this initiative. Back in 1960, we established the DFCC Bank, followed by the founding of the NDB Bank in 1980. Post-privatization, both banks have evolved into major commercial entities in our country. Notably, without these banks, President Premadasa’s success with 200 garment industries would not have been possible. Hence, there is a strong need to initiate a new bank.

This new bank aims to maintain low interest rates. Additionally, an economic commission will be instituted to advance these initiatives. Furthermore, we plan to introduce a new entity called Enterprise Sri Lanka to support small and medium-scale entrepreneurs. This institutional framework is designed to assist all industrialists across the country. We aim to progress steadily along this path over the next 5-10 years.

Furthermore, our policy aims to explore opportunities for production in countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar in the future. Concurrently, we are actively collaborating with India on these endeavours. I have already discussed this with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and anticipate further discussions with the Indian Foreign Minister tomorrow. Our cooperation with India will focus on solar and wind power, as well as acquiring green hydrogen. We aim to leverage these advantages, potentially even in the North Sea. As the first step Adani Company has initiated its presence in Sri Lanka. Embracing this new direction is imperative.

However, it’s observed that some individuals in our country resort to legal action for every issue, primarily benefiting lawyers. It’s imperative to understand that litigation alone cannot foster national development; instead, we must adhere to our national policies. I have instructed the Minister of Industries to initiate discussions and formulate a new program to advance industrial growth. We intend to present the Economic Transformation Law to Parliament to reinforce these initiatives.

Minister of Industries and Health Dr. Ramesh Pathirana,

The year 2022 posed significant economic challenges for Sri Lanka. However, I commend all industrialists in the country for their perseverance in advancing the industry despite numerous obstacles. They deserve recognition from the nation for their efforts. During his tenure as Minister of Industry, the current President played a pivotal role in the development of Sri Lanka’s industries. He demonstrated strong commitment by establishing garment factories and facilitating free trade agreements to promote the industrial sector.

Currently, Sri Lanka’s exports are predominantly focused on garments and products related to the plantation industry. Nevertheless, this exhibition highlights the vast potential for our country to progress in diverse sectors such as food technology, pharmaceutical production, packaging, and car assembly. As a nation, we must harness and further develop these strengths. It is noteworthy that the President is actively prioritizing this area of development.

State Ministers Prasanna Ranaweera and Chamara Sampath Dasanayake, along with Members of Parliament Vajira Abeywardena and Sampath Athukorala, Secretary of the Ministry of Industry Shantha Weerasinghe, Secretary of the Ministry of Health Palitha Gunaratne Mahipala, Chairman of the Industrial Development Board Dr. Saranga Alahapperuma, Director General of the Industrial Development Board H. M. S. Samarakoon, Western Province Governor, Marshal of the Air Force Roshan Gunathilake, were joined by a group of foreign Ambassadors, High Commissioners Chairmen of the Industries and officials from sponsoring companies at the event.

Senior Professor of Sri Jayewardenepura University, Sudantha Liyanage has been appointed as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC).

Former SLRC Chairman Dr. Prasad Samarasinghe resigned from his post to go abroad, and the new appointment was made by Minister of Transport, Highways and Mass Media, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena

An event to bid farewell to Dr. Prasad Samarasinghe, who is retiring due to personal reasons after serving as the Chairman and Director General of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) for almost a year, was held at the Media Ministry Auditorium.


Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana appointed Dr. Prasad Samarasinghe as the Chairman and Director General of the national television, entrusting him with the responsibility of preparing a programme based on his experience as an administrative officer in the private sector, to revive national television.

Accordingly, Dr. Samarasinghe made a special contribution to build a stable situation by resolving the problems faced by the institution in a short period of time, and the Minister appreciated his efforts.

The Minister emphasised that it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors and other members to continue the programmes and roles that were started based on his concepts in the institution.


The Minister said even though Dr. Prasad Samarasinghe, who does not have any allegations of fraud or corruption against him, donated his personal salary to the staff, he had to face baseless allegations by political elements like the JVP in Parliament at times.

Minister Dr. Gunawardhana also emphasised that he always stood up for the right decisions and for the right officials and worked to correct the wrong accusations.

Anusha Palpita, Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media, Ranjith Rubasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Highways and officials from ITN, SLBC, Lake House, Selacine and other heads of electronic and print media institutions under the Ministry of Mass Media, Ministry officials and others participated in this event.


  • Steps towards Rebuilding Devastated Homes
  • Government Allocated Funds for Reconstruction
  • Security Forces and Government Officials Lead Relief Efforts
  • Full Engagement in Restoration Efforts
  • Continuous Support for Shelter Residents:
  • On-going Provision of Food and Healthcare
  • 24/7 Emergency Hotline for Disaster Assistance
  • President Commends Dedication of Relief Workers

President Ranil Wickramasinghe directed the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance to immediately release the necessary funds to the relevant District Secretaries to provide urgent relief to the victims of the recent disaster caused by adverse weather conditions following this year’s Southwest monsoon.

Additionally, the President has instructed the concerned parties to rebuild all houses that were completely destroyed by the disaster, with assistance from the government, Tri-Forces, and Police, within the next two months.

A comprehensive plan for this initiative will be implemented today under the leadership of Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of the Presidential Staff Mr. Sagala Ratnayake and President’s Secretary Mr. Saman Ekanayake.

Currently, the Ministry of Public Administration, the Ministry of Defence, Tri-Forces, the Police, the Civil Defence Department, the Disaster Management Centre, the District Secretariats, and the essential officers of all affected Divisional Secretariats, along with Divisional Disaster Management Officers led by Grama Niladhari Officers, are working to provide relief to the victims.

The President, appreciating the dedication of all the officers, stated that the government would immediately provide all necessary support to the public to maintain a normal quality of life and ensure the continuation of essential services.

Retired Major General Adeepa Thilakarathne, the Acting Director General of the Disaster Management Centre, mentioned that he received instructions during a discussion held today (02) for the full implementation of the District Disaster Management Centres under the 25 District Secretariats.

He also mentioned that they agreed to provide the necessary support equipment from the Tri-Forces, Police, and Civil Defence Department, including operational vehicles, boats, and helicopters for use in flood situations. He pointed out that the Navy, Air Force, and Army are fully committed to this effort.

The meeting was attended by State Minister for Defence Pramitha Bandara Thennakoon, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of the Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake, and Defence Secretary (Retired) General Kamal Gunarathne, with District Secretaries from high-impact areas joining via electronic means. The Acting Director General of the Disaster Management Centre requested the public to avoid unnecessary travel, stay away from areas damaged by floods or disasters, and refrain from water sports in flooded or waterlogged areas.

The Disaster Management Centre’s emergency hotline, 117, is operational 24/7 to report emergencies and provide further assistance to those affected. The Acting Director General emphasised that all relevant government institutions and officials will be coordinated and supported to ensure effective service delivery.

Rathnapura District Secretary, Wasantha Gunarathne, reports that eight high-risk Divisional Secretariat Divisions have been identified in the Rathnapura district, with disaster relief officers in all these offices working full-time tonight (02).

The identified high-risk areas are Ratnapura, Kuruwita, Alapatha, Kalawana, Ayagama, Kiriella, Nivithigala, and Eheliyagoda. Currently, 9,398 people from 2,574 families have been affected by the adverse weather conditions, with 2,219 individuals from 528 families sheltering in 18 security posts.

So far, five deaths have been reported in the Rathnapura district. Gunarathne states that the collaboration between Divisional Secretaries, GN Officers, and other local authorities has made the disaster relief efforts more efficient. The Rathnapura District Secretary also emphasised that the food and health needs of all victims, both inside and outside the displaced persons camps, are being well met.

Meanwhile, Galle Acting District Secretary, Mrs. C.T. Rajakaruna, reported that out of the 22 Divisional Secretariats, the seven most at-risk areas are Neluwa, Thavalama, Nagoda, Niagama, Welivitiya Divithura, Baddegama, and Elpitiya.

She noted that the impact associated with the adverse weather is decreasing. However, 3,455 people from 1,348 families have been affected by the disaster, and two people are currently missing. The Acting District Secretary assured that all necessary facilities have been provided for 608 people from 250 families at one main safety center.

Matara District Secretary, Ganesh Amarasinghe, reports that among the 16 Divisional Secretariat Divisions, Athuraliya, Akurassa, and Pitabeddara are in a state of extreme danger. Mulatiyana, Pasgoda, Kotapola, Thihagoda, and Malimbada have also been affected, while other divisions have suffered minor impacts.

The calamities have resulted in the deaths of three people and two individuals are missing. A total of 10,937 people from 2,731 families have been affected. Additionally, 150 houses have been damaged in the Matara district. Currently, 123 people from 21 families are staying in five shelters and receiving necessary facilities. He assured that all required amenities have been provided to the disaster victims and mentioned receiving directives from the Ministry of Public Administration and the President’s Office to offer any further necessary services.

In Kaluthara district, 943 families have been affected by the disaster, displacing 3,539 people. Kaluthara District Secretary, Prasanna Janaka Kumara, stated that 30 shelters have been established, accommodating 2,274 people from 606 families with necessary facilities.

Disaster situations have been reported in just six Divisional Secretariat Divisions of the Colombo District, leading to the displacement of 6,839 individuals from 1,716 families. Acting District Secretary, Prasanna Janaka Kumara, stated that seven safe shelters have been set up by the Divisional Secretaries, accommodating 215 people from 58 families.


  • Four New Laws Aimed at Accelerating Economic Development
  • Bills, including Public Debt Management and Economic Transformation, Presented in June
  • IMF Agreements Formalized in Domestic Legislation
  • Endorsement of Laws Critical for National Prosperity- President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Presidential Decisions Boost Nursing Service amidst Adversity.

  • Poisoners’ Agenda Threatens Rights, Not Victories- PSUNU Chairman Ven. Dr. Muruththettuwe Ananda Nayaka Thero.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that he expects to increase the growth rate of Sri Lanka’s economy up to 3% by the year 2025 and mentioned that steps would be taken to increase the salaries of government employees.

The President made these remarks during the celebration of International Nurses Day at the Temple Trees, today (12).

Addressing the gathering, the President mentioned that four key laws will be introduced to propel the country’s economy towards rapid development, along with fostering an export-driven economy. The first among them is the Central Bank Law, aimed at granting autonomy to the Central Bank is already enacted and the bills called Public Debt Management Law, the Public Finance Act, and the Economic Transformation Law are slated for submission to Parliament this June.

The President expressed his hope for everyone’s support in passing these new laws, stressing their significance in advancing the country. He highlighted the necessity of enshrining all agreements made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other lending nations into law, underscoring the pivotal role these laws play in shaping the future of the country. He also appealed for the support of all political parties.

Reflecting on past economic instability, the President recounted how a coalition government was formed, transcending party lines, to steer the country towards recovery. He emphasized the success of this approach and urged unity in embracing the future economic agenda through the adoption of new laws.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe underscored the imperative of allocating substantial funds for education and healthcare in the future, affirming that this could only be achieved through the implementation of the new economic program.

International Nurses Day is observed annually on 12th May to honor the birth of the Founder of Modern Nursing, Lady Florence Nightingale.
This year’s theme, ‘Our Nurses – Our Future, The Economic Power of Nursing’, underscores the pivotal role nurses play in shaping our collective future.

Simultaneously, the President inaugurated the Sri Lanka Nursing University, unveiling its commemorative plaque through digital technology. Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena launched the official website of the State Service Nurses Association.

Further speaking on the occasion, President Ranil Wickremesinghe added:

Today is a very special day. Today, we commemorate the birthday of the Pioneer of Nursing, Florence Nightingale following established a nursing university. The inception of this university is attributed to the unwavering dedication of our esteemed Venerable Dr. Muruththettuwe Ananda Nayaka Thero, following an energetic battle. However, we have triumphed in accomplishing this feat. These universities can be initiated within existing structures and subsequently improved upon.

This university stands as a keystone in the life journey of Venerable Dr. Muruththettuwe Ananda Nayaka Thero. Besides nursing, it is imperative that these institutions also incorporate foreign language education. Proficiency in languages such as English, German, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese should be imparted here. Equipped with this linguistic knowledge, nurses can explore service opportunities in foreign countries. Particularly in countries like England and Germany, there is a prevalence of elderly care facilities. Furthermore, there is a growing interest in such investment ventures within Sri Lanka. Hence, this issue bears significant importance.

Today, the focus was on safeguarding the Treasury, a reminder of Alagiyawanna Mohottala’s Battle of Constantine where they faced encirclement like Dasa. Despite the challenges, our imperative remains the protection of our financial resources as we forge ahead.
Amidst this, our efforts have been directed towards extending concessions to government employees wherever feasible. Additionally, our sights are set on elevating salaries in the coming year. The past four years have been marked by profound adversity. Economic transformation only commenced in the last two quarters of the previous year following a prolonged stagnation since 2020, aggravated by both economic turmoil and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, the nation grappled with a severe malnutrition crisis, particularly affecting orphaned children, stunting their growth and portending future difficulties. Recognizing the urgency, we mobilized resources, engaging with the World Bank to secure triple the usual Samurdhi relief for the populace. Alongside, the group of beneficiaries expanded from 1.8 million to 2.4 million. Consequently, significant allocations were directed towards addressing this critical issue.

Additionally, we recognized the challenges faced by government employees and took steps to grant them a salary increase of Rs.10, 000. This action sent a clear signal for the potential elevation of salaries in both the private and plantation sectors.

In the last Yala, Maha seasons, we achieved success in our harvest. Similar to previous Sinhala and Tamil New Year seasons, these earnings will circulate back into the social economy during the upcoming Vesak festival. In this context, I am optimistic about our ability to achieve a 03% economic growth next year. Accordingly, our focus has once again shifted towards increasing the salaries of government employees.

I extend my sincere gratitude to the United Nurses Association for their understanding and support in this matter. Looking ahead, I anticipate further economic progress in the country next year. Without fostering this economic growth, achieving our goals will become challenging.

At present, we cannot print money. We have reached an agreement with the IMF, committing to refrain from printing money. Hence, our sole recourse is to strengthen our economic growth rate. Currently, we are in the final stages of negotiations with countries where we have borrowed from, with forthcoming discussions slated with private creditors. This trajectory positions us to avert bankruptcy by the end of this year. However, our economic challenges persist beyond this immediate hurdle. Even with potential loan waivers, outstanding balances must be settled.

Moreover, we engaged in the negotiations with the World Bank and the IMF to renovate our economic structure. The transition from an import-centric to an export-driven economy is imperative, and we have accepted to these conditions. Retreat from this course would expose the concessions we have secured. Thus, we are compelled to proceed in this direction.

It is imperative that we consistently maintain a budget surplus. If not we will fails to pay debt. It must be mentioned that all these decisions were made the betterment of the country. Now, we have to do is move forward along with an export-driven economy. To facilitate this transition, we have formulated a set of laws. While some have been enacted, others are still pending.

Foremost among these measures is the enactment of the Central Bank Law, which prohibits money printing and borrowing from state banks while granting autonomy to the Central Bank. Additionally, three other laws have been drafted. The Public Debt Management Act has been proposed thus far. This legislation sets limits on borrowing, stipulating conditions for loan acquisition and repayment in accordance with specified criteria.

Moreover, we have introduced the State Finance Bill. Previously, financial regulation was overseen by the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FR), but now our focus is on legislating financial control. This new law will govern the management of government funds, revenue collection, and monetary distribution, shaping our financial landscape for the future. We are presenting it to the approval of the Cabinet.

We have already established the Budget Office of the Parliament, alongside an independent agency tasked with providing impartial reports to the Parliament. Both entities operate within the framework of these two laws.

Additionally, we are proposing the enactment of the Economic Transformation Law, aiming to transition our economy towards a new economy centered on exports. This legislation incorporates the terms agreed upon with the IMF and other countries into law. I urge all parties to support the adoption of this law, as the future prosperity of our country hinges upon it.

Today, there is a critical need to allocate a huge fund to boost our healthcare sector. The elderly population has increased and we have to do a vital to combat malnutrition. So it is urgent to make a rapid economic development.

Our government was formed through collaboration across various political parties, united in our mission to rebuild our country. Today, we have achieved that goal. Now, we are poised to introduce three key laws essential for propelling our country forward, with a debate scheduled for June. I believe consensus will be reached on these laws, as no viable alternatives have been proposed. Therefore, I request everyone to embrace these new laws and advance our country’s development agenda.

Furthermore, significant investment is required for education and healthcare, which can only be sustained through the implementation of this new economic framework. Hence, I implore all of you to lend your support to this program.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena;

Today holds special significance for us, especially with the presence of the President, making it even more memorable. This occasion has been organized by the Public Services United Nurses Union. It is essential to acknowledge that the nursing service, pioneered by Lady Nightingale, expresses a noble concept that provides crucial aid to individuals facing crises. The practice of nursing is universally revered for its contribution to society.

This day is commemorated with respect due to the trust it instills both locally and internationally. People place immense confidence in nurses, knowing they will receive the necessary care to return home healthy. Nurses shoulder significant responsibilities during critical times, earning them widespread admiration. Consequently, a large number of individuals come together to celebrate this remarkable day, signifying the insightful impact of nursing services across various domains in our country.

The current Health Minister has been instrumental in providing unwavering support for this cause, while the President has played a pivotal role in advancing it further.

After widespread discussions, a nursing university has been established. This significant achievement is attributed to the dedication of Venerable Dr. Muruththettuwe Ananda Nayaka Thero and the decisive action taken by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The Minister of Health and officials from the relevant ministries played instrumental roles in this endeavor. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the entire nursing community, whose tireless efforts have culminated in this momentous occasion.

Minister of Industries and Health Dr. Ramesh Pathirana;

As I mark my sixth month as the Health Minister, this month, I reflect with humble satisfaction on the progress achieved for the nursing service, which is Sri Lanka’s largest and most esteemed professional group in the healthcare sector.
Guided by the Honorable President, Sri Lanka has witnessed the establishment of its first Nursing University. Additionally, the position of Deputy Director General has been inaugurated, marking a significant step forward.

Despite navigating through economic challenges, there is a gradual alleviation of the hardships we faced. In 2024, the President extended an allowance to the entire public service of Sri Lanka. In recognition of the exemplary service rendered by the nursing fraternity in our healthcare sector, we have gone a step further by enhancing the uniform allowance. Furthermore, I am pleased to announce that your special duty allowance will be doubled from May.

Over 150,000 individuals are serving in the Sri Lankan Healthcare Service. Amidst the backdrop of various accusations leveled against politicians and public servants in the country, it’s a source of great pride and respect that such allegations have not stained the reputation of the nursing service in Sri Lanka. This stands as a testament to the excellence of nursing.

Each prevailed government has consistently allocated a considerable portion of funds towards healthcare service and free education annually. Notably, the largest allocation of funds, totaling Rs.410 billion, was earmarked for the health service in the year 2024.

Furthermore, it is worth acknowledging the significant contributions of Venerable Dr. Muruththettuwe Ananda Nayaka Thero towards advancing nursing service. His efforts have yielded considerable gains for the nursing profession, all achieved without any struggle.

‍Chancellor of Colombo University, Chairman of Public Services United Nurses Union, Chief Incumbent of the Western Province Venerable Dr. Muruththettuwe Ananda Nayaka Thero;

Today, as we celebrate International Nurses Day on the occasion of Lady Nightingale’s birthday, I call upon all nurses to follow her path.

While faced with temptations to engage in struggles, I assert that we have already achieved significant victories. Our focus now should be on safeguarding these gains. Let us diligently fulfill our duties and advocate for salary increments. Despite any challenges that may arise, I urge everyone to uphold the dignity of the noble nursing profession. Let us secure our rights through negotiation rather than through conflict.

The establishment of a nursing university stands as a monumental achievement, marking a historic victory for nursing. It is imperative that we never forget this victory. I would like to acknowledge President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who, as Deputy Prime Minister at the time, presented diploma certificates to nurses. Today, he has been appointed Deputy Director, a fitting recognition of his contributions.

These rights stem from the unwavering resolve of our President amidst adversity. Those who seek to undermine them aim not for victory. It is crucial to acknowledge our accessible leaders – the President, Prime Minister, and Minister – with whom we can address any issue.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, State Minister for Indigenous Medicine Sisira Jayakody, Parliamentarians Wajira Abeywardana and Yadamini Gunawardena, Secretary to the Ministry of Health Dr. Palitha Maheepala, Secretary of the Government Medical Officers Association Dr. Haritha Aluthge, officials from the Ministry of Health, principals of Nursing Colleges, Nursing Officers, retired Nursing Officers, and guests were present at the event.

Japan Foreign Minister, Ms. Yōko Kamikawa, called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe this afternoon (4) at the Presidential Secretariat.

Foreign Minister Kamikawa appreciated the President’s efforts to overcome the economic crisis, as well as pursuing an ambitious economic reforms agenda.

During the discussions with President Wickremesinghe, Minister Yōko Kamikawa, stated her Government’s intention to resume the Yen denominated loans and the stalled Japanese investment initiatives including the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) expansion project and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.

The deliberation also encompassed discussions on the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) pertaining to debt restructuring in Sri Lanka.

Minister Kamikawa, who is an ardent supporter of women’s rights and gender equality, appreciated the President’s efforts to bring about necessary legislation in the country regarding this vital matter.

The President expressed his thanks to the Government and people of Japan for their support for Sri Lanka during the country’s hour of need.

He stressed that the cooperation between Sri Lanka and Japan must be strengthened, which will only serve to benefit both countries.

The President was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry, Senior Advisor on National Security and the Chief-of-Staff to the President, Sagala Ratnayaka, Secretary to the President, Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aruni Wijewardena, Senior Advisor on Economic Affairs, Dr. R. H. S. Samaratunga and Director of International Affairs Dinouk Colombage.

The 150th birth anniversary of Italian inventor and electrical engineer Guglielmo Marconi was commemorated at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) premises yesterday. The cancellation of a new postage stamp and first day cover to mark this occasion took place at the SLBC premises under the patronage of Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena with Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana in attendance. This ceremony also marked a strong bond and long-term friendship between Italy and Sri Lanka. Marconi visited Sri Lanka in 1930. This stamp of the denomination of Rs. 50 has been designed by Sulakshika Rathnayake. Italian Ambassador in Colombo Damiano Francovigh, SLBC Chairman Hudson Samarasinghe and officials of the Italian Embassy were present.


President Ranil Wickremesinghe reiterated the government’s commitment to maximizing the contribution of agriculture to the country’s economic advancement. He highlighted the implementation of programs aimed at popularizing cinnamon cultivation, a significant export crop in the country’s history, as part of the agricultural modernization initiative.


President Wickremesinghe made these observations while attending the “Dilmah Cinnamon” launching ceremony heldat the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo.

The “Dilmah” brand, renowned for elevating “Ceylon Tea” in the global market, has ventured into the Sri Lankan cinnamon industry by expanding its domestic exports through the company, introducing high-quality cinnamon products to the global market.

Expressing appreciation for the resurrecting of “Ceylon Cinnamon” akin to Dilmah’s success with “Ceylon Tea,” the President expressed confidence that this initiative would mark the inception of a new era in the country’s economy. The President further said; “What you don’t realize is that cinnamon is a part of our history. When the Polonnaruwa kingdom collapsed and we moved into the southwest wet zone, the only thing that kept the economy going was cinnamon. If we had no cinnamon, we wouldn’t have had the kingdoms of Dambadeniya or Yapahuwa or Gampola or Raigama or Kotte. That’s how closely tied cinnamon is to our history.”

The President said that as cinnamon gave way to coffee and tea, when the price of cinnamon came down, the whole situation changed. But now we see that Sri Lankan cinnamon is still the best in the world. 

“And thank you, Dilmah, for resurrecting the name “Ceylon tea”, just as you have resurrected the name “Ceylon cinnamon”.”

“The government has also decided that if we are to go ahead with economic transformation, why don’t we make use of agriculture? From the time of the Sinhala kings until the British left us in 1948, agriculture was our mainstay. I am not saying to do away with others; all that is essential. But we forgot about agriculture. So the whole plan for modernization is being discussed.” 

“New legislation is being brought in. But it has to be a beneficiary-centric process in which the government and the private sector join together. So as far as cinnamon is concerned, I think you’ve set the way, and we are here to help you.”

Prof. Maithree Wickramasinghe, Minister of Health and Industries Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, high commissioners and ambassadors, Chairman of the Dilmah Group Dilhan Fernando and the family including a gathering graced the occasion.


Iran and Sri Lanka inked five Memorandums of Understanding aimed at bolstering bilateral relations between the two nations.

The MoUs will cover cooperation in film, media, tourism, cooperatives, libraries, cultural, scientific, technical and sports fields. Education Minister Susil Premajayantha signed on behalf of Sri Lanka for the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Library and Archives of Iran and the National Library of Sri Lanka with Cultural Affairs Minister Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili representing Iran.

Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding was inked between the National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran, witnessed by Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister, Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana and Iranian Cultural Affairs Minister, Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili.

A Memorandum of Understanding was also sealed between Sri Lanka and Iran concerning cooperation in media and tourism. Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr.Bandula Gunawardhana, along with Iranian Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehra Biyan signed the agreement.

An agreement encompassing cultural, scientific, and technical collaboration, as well as media, youth, and sports programmes between Sri Lanka and the Islamic Republic of Iran, was signed. Foreign Minister Ali Sabry PC represented Sri Lanka, while Minister of Cultural Affairs Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili represented Iran.

Another Memorandum of Understanding was established between the Iran Cooperative Board and the Sri Lanka National Cooperative Board. Chairman of the Sri Lanka National Cooperative Board, G.V. Sarath Weerasiri, and Iran’s Cultural Affairs Minister Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments.

The event was attended by Ministers Pavitra Wanniarachchi, Prasanna Ranatunga, Kanchana Wijesekera, Nalin Fernando, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary Aruni Wijewardene and other dignitaries.

The meeting between Iranian President Dr.Ibrahim Raisi who arrived in Sri Lanka to attend the inauguration of the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project and President Ranil Wickremesinghe took place on Wednesday afternoon at the Presidential Secretariat.

President Wickremesinghe warmly greeted the delegation, which included the Iranian President, upon their arrival at the Presidential Secretariat. A ceremonial Guard of Honour was accorded to the visitors accompanied by a 21-gun salute.

Following the introduction of the delegations from both nations, President Wickremesinghe escorted the Iranian President and his team to the Presidential Secretariat. Subsequent to amicable discussions between the leaders, bilateral talks commenced.

Diplomatic ties between Iran and Sri Lanka were established in 1962, predating formal recognition. Historical exchanges between the two nations date back to the Persian era, with trade conducted primarily through the Strait of Hormuz. Iran established its embassy in Colombo in 1975, while Sri Lanka reciprocated by opening its embassy in Tehran in January 1990. Both countries maintain robust cooperation across various sectors and engage in multilateral endeavours.

The leaders deliberated on enhancing bilateral relations between their respective nations, underscoring the commitment to further collaboration and mutual cooperation.

President Wickremesinghe took the opportunity to express his gratitude to President Raisi for the support extended by the Islamic Republic of Iran during Sri Lanka’s recent economic crisis and subsequent debt restructuring efforts. Updating President Raisi on Sri Lanka’s recent economic stability and recovery, President Wickremesinghe conveyed optimism regarding the nation’s future progress and prosperity.

During their discussions, the leaders delved into key areas of mutual interest, emphasising the need to bolster economic and trade ties while fostering political and cultural cooperation.


Countries of the Global South are establishing their identity: President Ranil:

Committed to strong partnership with Sri Lanka: President Raisi:

The “Uma Diya Janani” multipurpose development project, marked as a significant irrigation initiative following the Mahaweli movement, was officially handed over to the public yesterday morning (24) by the Presidents of Iran and Sri Lanka. Iranian President Dr. Ibrahim Raisi, attending the event at President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s invitation, received a warm welcome.

During the ceremony, both leaders unveiled a commemorative plaque and inaugurated the project, initiating the operation of electricity generators through digital technology. President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed gratitude to Iran for their indispensable support, highlighting that without it, Sri Lanka couldn’t have diverted water from Uma Oya to Kirindi Oya. He emphasised Sri Lanka’s commitment to strengthening ties with Iran.

Reflecting on the shared aspirations of the Global South for their unique identity and independence, President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of solidarity among these nations.

“Iran’s technological prowess has spread across all fields. It should also be said that Iran is a country that maintains its own technological development. Therefore, we should strengthen the common points of both countries. We are all countries of the Global South. Such projects are very important at a time when the countries of the Global South are establishing their identity and independence,” President Wickremesinghe said.

President Ibrahim Raisi of Iran underscored that the project symbolises not only the friendship between Iran and Sri Lanka but also signifies enhanced co-operation, integration, harmony, and unity among Asian nations.

The President of Iran affirmed Iran’s readiness to foster a strong partnership with Sri Lanka and expressed Iran’s willingness to contribute to Sri Lanka’s progress and development through the provision of technical and engineering services for large-scale projects.

Iran’s President Dr. Ibrahim Raisi, accompanied by Iran’s First Lady Jamile Sadat Alamolhoda, arrived in Sri Lanka from the Mattala Airport yesterday morning (24) to attend the inauguration of the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project. Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and other Ministers welcomed the Iranian delegation.

President Raisi’s one-day official visit to Sri Lanka, at the special invitation of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, marks the first visit by an Iranian President since former Iranian President Mohammad Ahmadinejad’s visit in April 2008.

As part of his visit, the Iranian President left a commemorative message in the guest book at the Mattala International Airport.

The Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project (UOMDP) stands as a flagship initiative of national significance in Sri Lanka. Its primary aim is to divert approximately 145 million cubic meters (MCM) of excess water annually from the Uma Oya basin to the Kirindi Oya basin, addressing the issue of water scarcity in the South-Eastern dry zone without adverse effects on the environment or water sources.

This initiative will facilitate irrigation for around 4,500 hectares of new land and 1,500 hectares of existing agricultural land in the Moneragala district. Additionally, it will fulfil the drinking and industrial water requirements of Badulla, Moneragala, and Hambantota areas, providing approximately 39 million cubic meters (MCM) of water annually. Furthermore, the project will contribute to the national electricity supply by generating 290 gigawatt hours (290 GWh) of electrical capacity each year.

Key components of the project include the construction of two reservoirs, Puhulpola and Dayaraba, a 3.98 km connector tunnel linking the reservoirs, a 15.2 km main tunnel, an underground power plant, transmission lines, and associated infrastructure. The project was undertaken by Iran’s FARAB Engineering Company, with a total contract value of US$ 514 million and it commenced on March 15, 2010.

The Export Development Bank of Iran (EDBI) initially contributed US$ 50 million in funding until 2013. However, owing to international sanctions imposed on Iran, the EDBI was unable to continue its financial support for the project. Accordingly, the Government of Sri Lanka opted to advance the project using state funds in collaboration with the respective contractor, FARAB Company.

When the project commenced on March 15, 2010, it was originally slated for completion by March 15, 2015. However, various challenges arose, including technical issues such as unexpected water ingress into the Headrace tunnel, social impacts, financial obstacles, global crises like the Covid-19 pandemic during construction. Consequently, the completion date of the project has been extended to March 31, 2024, along with an extension of the warranty period until March 31, 2025. The basic phase of operations concluded in February and March 2024 while linking the units 01 and 02 to the national grid successfully. Trial operations were commenced on April 1, 2024.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe declared the government’s commitment to ensuring inclusivity in strengthening the country’s economy, prioritizing both economic growth and citizen welfare.


He emphasized the need to distribute economic benefits equitably among all citizens, acknowledging the impact of recent economic challenges on everyone. Addressing the inauguration ceremony of the National Rice Distribution for low-income families at Ambagasdowa Stadium, Uva Paranagama President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced that 2.74 million low-income families would receive a monthly allocation of 10 kilograms of rice for two months. Specifically, 191,548 eligible families in 15 Divisional Secretariat Divisions within the Badulla District were identified to receive this subsidy. The President symbolically distributed rice bags to 25 beneficiaries, marking the commencement of the rice allocation.

Rice distribution to chosen beneficiaries is ongoing under the supervision of Divisional Secretaries nationwide. President Wickremesinghe emphasized the significance of equitable economic development and collaboration among political parties, highlighting the current government’s diverse composition and its commitment to national interests.

Despite challenges such as currency depreciation and job losses, the government tripled benefits under the Aswasuma program to support those in need and initiated rice distribution for low-income individuals. The President emphasized inclusive economic development, sourcing rice from small-scale mill owners to support them financially.

Efforts to improve living standards include land grants to plantation communities and allocation of flats in Colombo. President Wickremesinghe stressed unity and urged collective efforts for national progress, emphasizing significant development programs for the Uva province. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva highlighted the President’s focus on empowering individuals economically, resulting in tangible progress. State Minister Chamara Samapath Dasanayake expressed satisfaction in providing rice benefits to those in need, emphasizing the President’s role in the nation’s economic recovery.

MP Vadivel Suresh commended the President’s efforts in uplifting the country from economic crisis and praised his foreign relations strategy. He highlighted initiatives like Aswasuma benefits and wage increases for public service employees, expressing confidence in the President’s leadership.

The event was attended by various political representatives and officials, signaling collective support for the government’s initiatives.


Irrigation, Wildlife and Forestry Minister Pavitra Wanniarachchi states that all arrangements have been made for the Uma-Oya Multi-Purpose Development Project to be handed over to the public on Wednesday (24).

The Minister said this while speaking to the media after visiting the Uma-Oya Multipurpose Development Project last week.

She also said that all plans have been prepared to declare open the Uma-Oya Multipurpose Development Project under the leadership of the President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Iran’s President Ibrahim Raisi on Wednesday. Minister Wanniarachchi said that it was a victory.

The Minister first travelled to observe the Diaraba Reservoir and the Puhulpola Reservoir in the Welimada area of Bandarawela, which are the two reservoirs that collect water required for the production of electricity in the Uma-Oya project.

Minister Wanniarachchi also visited the underground power plant in Ella Karandagolla area and observed the power generation activities there.

Speaking to the media after the observation visit, the Minister said that it is a great achievement to be able to produce 120 megawatts of electricity through the Uma-Oya Multipurpose Development Project and connect it to the national power system. He pointed out that the production of electricity worth between 1,000 and 15,000 acres of paddy fields in Moneragala and Badulla districts is directly used for the cultivation of Yala Maha Dekenna after the production of electricity.

The Minister also mentioned that by being able to supply water, the development of the country’s agriculture sector will be positively affected. She also said that it is special to be able to supply drinking water to the people of Moneragala, Badulla and Bandarawela areas. She further said that the Uma-Oya Multi-Purpose Development Project is a huge project that will benefit the country’s national economy on the one hand and the livelihood development of the people of Badulla, Moneragala, Bandarawela and Hambantota areas on the other.


Project Director Eng. D. C. S. Alakanda, Resident Project Eng. Priyantha Nanayakkara, Iran Farab Construction Company Project Manager P. Dezfuli, and the site manager of the company M. Malekpour and others were present.

Project at a glance…

* The project was officially launched in 2010, with an estimated cost of US$ 514 million.


* All the constructions are carried out by the Farab Institute, which is the contracting company of the Iranian Government, and the Central Consultancy Bureau is monitoring the engineering works on behalf of the Irrigation Ministry (Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau).

* Under the Uma-Oya Multi-Purpose Development Project, a dam will first be constructed at the Puhulpola Reservoir and the water collected there will be brought to Diaraba Reservoir through a 4 km tunnel.

*A dam will be constructed at the Diaraba Reservoir, the water brought from the Puhulpola Reservoir will be stored there and then the water will be brought through a 15.5 km long tunnel to two turbines located underground in the Ella Karandagolla area.

* The two turbines produce 60 megawatts of hydroelectricity separately, and thus an electrical capacity of 120 megawatts is added to the national grid. The electricity produced in this way will be taken to Badulla for a distance of 23 kilometres through 65 high voltage power lines and connected to the national power system.

*After power generation, the water will be brought to the Alikota reservoir through another 4 km tunnel. Accidentally, the water is brought to Handapanagala and Kudoya reservoirs. By doing so, 1,500 hectares of old paddy fields and 4,500 hectares of new paddy fields will be directly irrigated to 15,000 acres of paddy fields for both the lower and upper regions.

*It is also expected to take the extra water discharged after the cultivation activities to the Lunugam Wehera area of Hambantota district and provide water for the cultivation activities of the Yala Maha Dekhanna for thirty thousand acres of paddy fields in that area.

* Through the Kirindioya Basin, the Uva Wellassa farmlands will be fertilised and this will enable the drinking water needs of the people of Badulla, Moneragala and Bandarawela areas to be fulfilled.


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