The Director General of the Central Cultural Fund, Prof. Gamini Ranasinghe, highlighted the significant revenue generated—exceeding three thousand US Dollars—by offering foreigners the opportunity to witness the sunrise at Sigiriya.
Prof. Ranasinghe emphasized ongoing efforts to identify sectors around Sigiriya that can further entice tourists. Acknowledging the potential, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has committed an aid package of US$ 8 million to enhance these initiatives.
Speaking at the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Religious Affairs and Co-Existence in Parliament, Prof. Ranasinghe discussed the need to amend the Central Cultural Fund Act to specify the fund’s utilization, preventing its use for illegal activities.
Highlighting the Central Cultural Fund’s impressive financial growth, Prof. Ranasinghe mentioned a remarkable 614% increase in dollar generation over the past two years, alleviating previous debt burdens.
The meeting also addressed concerns regarding overcharging by informal three-wheeler drivers in tourist areas, advocating for mandatory meter installations to curb exorbitant pricing.
Additionally, officials urged the committee’s intervention in hiring for vacant positions within the Central Cultural Fund and proposed measures to confirm the status of 286 employees currently in temporary roles.
The session welcomed officials from the Public Trustee Department, who outlined strategies aimed at enhancing revenue by leveraging the department’s land and property effectively. Plans for digitalizing departmental activities were also highlighted for increased efficiency.
MPs Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero and M. Rameshwaran, along with government officials including Somaratne Vidhanapathirana, the Secretary of the Ministry of Religious and Cultural Affairs, participated in the discussion, focusing on strategies to fortify tourism in Sigiriya and optimize departmental revenue streams.