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COPF approves 4 Gazettes

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Five Gazettes to be presented to Parliament for approval were considered in the Committee on Public Finance recently and approval was obtained for four gazettes.

This approval was given after an analysis of the relevant Gazettes at the Committee on Public Finance which met recently (20) under the chairmanship of Hon. (Dr.) Harsha de Silva, Member of Parliament.

Thus, the approval of the Committee was obtained for Gazette No. 2282/26, which is stipulated under the Value Added Tax Act No. 14 of 2002 as amended by Act No. 6 of 2005. This Gazette was published in relation to increasing the value added tax (VAT) to 12%.

The regulation under the Excise Ordinance published under the Extra Ordinary Gazette No. 2277/62 was also considered here. This Gazette had been imposed in relation to charging a tax of Rs. 50 for a liter of toddy. The said Gazette received the approval of the Committee.

The regulation under the Finance Act No. 25 of 2003 published under the Extraordinary Gazette No. 2272/53 was also considered and approved at the Committee. This Gazette was published to reduce the fee charged to each person departing from Ratmalana Airport to an amount of USD 30.

Furthermore, under the Foreign Exchange Act No. 12 of 2017, the order published under the Extraordinary Gazette No. 2296/12 was considered at the Committee. Its purpose is to increase the period of 24 months to 36 months mentioned in the order of the Gazette No. 2234/19 published on June 30th, 2021. The officials also pointed out that this decision was taken with the aim of expanding the market for local products as recommended by the Ministry of Industries. But since the foreign exchange spent for the import of these goods is relatively low and the market lack of these goods as well as the increase in price cannot be borne by the common people, it was discussed in the committee that it is not appropriate to control the imports. Accordingly, it was decided to discuss this further at a future meeting.

The committee pointed out to the relevant officials the need to quickly refer these Gazettes for approval.

Minister Hon. Nalin Fernando, State Minister Hon. (Dr.) Suren Raghavan, Members of Parliament Hon. Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Hon. Mayantha Dissanayake, Hon. Harshana Rajakaruna and Hon. (Prof) Ranjith Bandara were present at this Committee meeting held.

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“14.3% Surge in new HIV infections in 2023, reveals national program”

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The National Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS Prevention Program states that the reporting of new HIV infections has increased by 14.3 percent.

This is higher in 2023 compared to 2022, director, Dr. Janaki Vidanapathirana, community medicine specialist said.
She said that last year, 694 new HIV infected people were identified, most of them were men, and the number is 611, which as percentage is 88%. Last year, 81 HIV infected women were reported, which is 11.7 percent as a percentage. It is also
reported that there are 4100 infected people in society.

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Sri Lanka to Host Digital Economy Summit in July

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The State Minister for Technology, Mr. Kanaka Herath, announced that the anticipated National Cyber Security Act will be introduced this year, followed by the establishment of the Cyber Security Authority.

Additionally, the State Minister underscored the preparations made for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka by the end of July. The summit serves as a platform for fostering innovation, collaboration, and investment in digital technologies, thus propelling the country towards a more resilient and prosperous digital economy.

Speaking at a press briefing titled “Collective Path to a Stable Country” held at the President Media Centre (PMC) today (29),

State Minister Herath further said;

The digital economy, which previously stood at 4.73%, has now surpassed the 5% mark, indicating significant growth.

This expansion has notably bolstered the country’s overall economic resilience. To further enhance this momentum, preparations are underway for the Digital Economy Summit scheduled to take place in Sri Lanka at the end of July. The summit aims to attract both local and foreign investors, with collaborative efforts from foreign embassies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Investment Promotion facilitating this initiative.

Furthermore, a sum of Rs. 50 million derived from the profits of Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) was allocated to the treasury in the previous year. In line with President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal, a new initiative has been launched to uplift small and medium-sized industrialists, who constitute 52% of the country’s economy. This endeavour seeks to empower such enterprises technologically, offering them Good manufacturing practice (GMP) and SLSI certifications. Additionally, plans are underway to facilitate access to low-interest loans through the Asian Development Bank (ADB), with the ultimate goal of guiding these small and medium-sized industrialists into the market.

(dailynews.lk)

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SC quashes Cabinet decision granting Paget Road residence to Maithripala

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The Supreme Court on Thursday (29 Feb.) quashed the Cabinet decision allowing former President Maithripala Sirisena to occupy his official residence at Paget Road in Colombo 07 even after he left office.

Accordingly, the court stated that an order will be issued invalidating the Cabinet decision taken on 15 October 2019 in this regard.

The relevant court order was issued by Supreme Court Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, with the concurrence of Justices Gamini Amarasekera and Kumudini Wickremasinghe, upon consideration of a Fundamental Rights (FR) petition filed by the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu.

The petition further sought a court order stating that former President Sirisena had violated several fundamental rights of the public by taking decisions pertaining to his own privileges and rights during his tenure as the President, thereby making him the head of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Announcing the verdict, Supreme Court Justice Priyantha Jayawardena highlighted that the relevant Cabinet decision made by Sirisena was, in fact, unlawful, given that he was both, the President and the head of the Cabinet of Ministers at the time the decision in question was taken.

In their petition, the CPA and Dr. Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu claimed that the residence in question is of great financial value to the country, and thereby stated that such an allocation for a former President was irrational, illegal and arbitrary, and also violated several fundamental rights of the country’s citizens including that of the right to equality.

(adaderana.lk)

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