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CoPF approves Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill

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The Sri Lanka Telecommunications (Amendment) Bill to amend the Telecommunications Act was considered at the Committee on Public Finance to which the said approval was granted.

This was approved when the Committee on Public Finance met in Parliament on 25.06.2024 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Harsha de Silva, Member of Parliament. Officials representing the Attorney General’s Department, Ministry of Technology, Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and other institutions were present at the Committee meeting held.

The Speaker recently announced the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the petitions filed against this Bill submitted by the Minister of Technology to Parliament on 10th May 2024 to amend the Sri Lanka Telecommunications Act No. 25 of 1991.

Accordingly, the officials who were present stated that respecting the decision of the Supreme Court, they will take measures to submit all necessary amendments to the Bill. The officials also said that it is a need of the hour to amend this Act along with the technical trends of the world and although the Cabinet Sub-committees have worked for the amendment of this Bill on three previous occasions, it has not been accomplished.

The officials also stated that this Bill was prepared after extensive discussions with all stakeholders in the telecommunication sector in accordance with the accepted standards of the world. Thus, in a more competitive market, there is scope for a regulation that is fair to the consumer.

It was also disclosed that this will introduce a mechanism under a competitive system in providing telecommunication frequencies. According to this, the relevant regulations should be compiled by the Parliament and thus the opportunity to introduce the new technology to the telecommunications sector of the country will arise as well as it will be possible to properly regulate the institutions that conduct this business, the officials pointed out.

It was also disclosed that in addition to the existing telecommunication system licenses and frequency licenses, 3 other types of licenses will be introduced through these amendments. Through the said, in addition to the companies that provide telecommunication services, licenses are also given to companies that provide infrastructure. The officials also stated that the powers of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission will be strengthened through these amendments.

Furthermore, the officials also pointed out that through these amendments, there is an opportunity to give the customer the advantage of reducing tariffs in the market competition.  It was also discussed that amendments have been submitted for the security of undersea telecommunication cables.

The Chair of the Committee emphasized that given the world is changing rapidly with advancement of telecommunication related technology, we as a country must ensure our legislation to leverage and benefit from such technology. Furthermore, the Chair of the Committee stated that these amendments will be a more positive step forward to introduce the new technology in the telecommunication sector.

Moreover, Dr. Harsha de Silva, stated that this Bill is being considered by the Committee on Public Finance to investigate matters related to public finances, market competition and transparency, consumer fairness, etc.

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Prasanna urges Ranil to declare candidacy promptly

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During a spirited rally in Kadawatha today, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga passionately urged President Ranil Wickremesinghe to promptly announce his candidacy for the presidency within the upcoming week.

“The people of Gampaha eagerly await your decision. Please do not delay any further in declaring your intention to contest,” Minister Ranatunga urged with conviction.

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Harin awards Rs. 1M to Olympic athletes

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Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Harin Fernando has awarded financial sponsorship cheques of Rs. 1 million each to six athletes participating in the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. 

Additionally, prize money totaling Rs. 1280 lakh was distributed to athletes and coaches who secured medals and top-eight positions in the last Asian and Paralympic Games in Hangzhou, China.

Young sprinter Tharushi was among the highly rewarded, receiving Rs. 15 million for her Asian Games gold medal along with another Rs. 2.5 million for her relay medal.

Minister Fernando emphasized the significance of encouraging athletes even amidst the country’s financial crisis. 

He expressed his commitment to promoting sports and highlighted the importance of discipline in representing Sri Lanka. He urged athletes to dedicate themselves to achieving victory, meeting the high expectations of the nation.

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Former INSSSL Director General Asanka Abeygunasekara arrested

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The former Director General of the Institute of National Security Studies of Sri Lanka (INSSSL) Asanka Abeygunasekara has been arrested by police.

Abeygunasekara, against whom there was a pending open warrant over a case filed by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), was arrested at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake this morning (21), police said.

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