Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Sri Lanka Original Narrative Summary: 31/05

1. President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that he is actively working to address wage disparities across all sectors of the public sector. Highlighting the country’s economic recovery, the President acknowledged that while Sri Lanka is beginning to regain its footing, there remains a significant journey ahead. He emphasized the need for the trade union movement to adapt to current changes and contribute to the nation’s progress.

2. Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana stated that Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa going to schools is a political farce. Speaking at the inauguration of Odatugama-Adiyagala road renovation project at the request of founder of Jathika Namal Uyana Ven. Wanawasi Rahula Thera, the Minister said that every government has carried out development projects, road development projects on credit.

3. Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera announced that coal power plants in Sri Lanka will be decommissioned, as per the country’s long-term generation plan. He said that Sri Lanka has set a target of securing 70% of the country’s energy requirement via renewable energy, by 2030.

4. Seylan Bank PLC, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), will disburse Working Capital and Long-Term Loans from the ADB, aimed at bolstering the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector in the country. In an effort to stimulate economic growth and support local businesses, Seylan Bank will offer financial assistance to SMEs engaged in various industries, including Agriculture, Fisheries, Ornamental Fisheries, Aquaculture, Livestock, Animal Husbandry, Poultry, Tourism, and Export-Oriented Businesses.

5. State Minister for Finance, Shehan Semasinghe stated that only those wishing to plunge the country back into an economic crisis would oppose the Economic Transformation Bill. He emphasized that while the current government is focused on an optimistic economic outlook, the opposition groups are driven solely by political motives.

6. A ship, owned by an Indian company, has been taken into custody by Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) for causing an oil spill while anchored at the Colombo Port, it was reported. According to a MEPA official, compensation was sought for the oil spill under the Marine Environment Protection Authority Act, while the company’s owner has admitted to the incident and agreed to provide compensation.

7. Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry says that the western countries have shown their ‘double standards’ by ‘turning a blind eye’ to the crisis in Gaza and that, serious amendments must be made to the international laws on how the United Nations functions in order to protect international democracy. Minister stated that Sri Lanka is of the view that the Israel-Palestine war must come to an end immediately and both countries must exist as per the borders announced in 1965. 

8. State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasuriya states that Sri Lanka is working closely with the Government of Russia to repatriate Sri Lankans who are working with the Russian forces. Russia’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka Mr. Levan Dzhagaryan, the State Minister also expressed that the ministry has requested that those who choose to remain will not be sent to the frontlines of the war in Ukraine, and will continue to receive their salaries and benefits in full.

9. The Committee on Public Finance (CoPF) has directed the officials of the Welfare Benefits Board to prioritise the criteria that can be verified and determined in order to accurately identify poverty while selecting the “Aswesuma” beneficiaries. Drawing examples, the committee pointed out that individual poverty can be identified better based on the electricity bill amount considering the electricity units consumed in each home, the Parliamentary Communications Department said in a statement.

10. Police have arrested two Canadians for assaulting several persons at Chunnakam. Police said that the attackers had forcibly entered a house and assaulted those present over a financial dispute.Police arrested the two Canadian passport holders after those who had been assaulted lodged a complaint with Chunnakam police. They were to be produced before the Mallakam Magistrate court.

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