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DFC commits USD 0.5 bn to Colombo Port infrastructure

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The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) today (Nov. 08) announced it has committed more than half a billion dollars to support the development of a deepwater shipping container terminal in the Port of Colombo, Sri Lanka, that will provide critical infrastructure for the South Asian region.

The new terminal reflects DFC’s commitment to financing high-quality infrastructure that supports its partner’s development needs, invests in local communities, and is respectful of local financial conditions. The investment further demonstrates the United States’ enduring commitment to Sri Lanka’s economic growth and its regional economic integration, including with India, a statement issued by the US embassy in Colombo states.

The embassy further notes :

DFC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Scott Nathan traveled to Sri Lanka to launch $553 million in financing to Colombo West International Terminal Private Limited to support the development of the deepwater West Container Terminal located within the Port of Colombo. Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, Chief of Staff to the President and National Security Advisor (NSA) Sagala Ratnayaka and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung joined CEO Nathan for the ceremonial launch of the new terminal.

“DFC works to drive private-sector investments that advance development and economic growth while strengthening the strategic positions of our partners. That’s what we’re delivering with this infrastructure investment in the Port of Colombo,” said DFC CEO Scott Nathan. “Sri Lanka is one of the world’s key transit hubs, with half of all container ships transiting through its waters. DFC’s commitment of $553 million in private-sector loans for the West Container Terminal will expand its shipping capacity, creating greater prosperity for Sri Lanka – without adding to sovereign debt – while at the same time strengthening the position of our allies across the region.”

U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung said, “The $553 million investment by DFC for the long-term development of the Port of Colombo’s West Container Terminal will facilitate private- sector-led growth in Sri Lanka and attract crucial foreign exchange inflows during its economic recovery. This financing is symbolic of the United States’ long-standing commitment to the development and well-being of the people of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka regaining its economic footing will further our shared vision for a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

This investment models how DFC operates, supporting projects that are strategic, economically sound, and led by the private sector. DFC is working with world-class sponsors John Keells Holdings and Adani Ports & Special Economic Zones Limited (APSEZ). These companies’ local experience and high-quality standards will help support local jobs and make this project a long-term, sustained success for the Indo-Pacific.

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Materials worth Rs. 12 mn. from consumer goods warehouse, misplaced

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The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) met recently under the chairmanship of the State Minister Hon. Lasantha Alagiyawanna and the Auditor General’s reports for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022 and the current performance of the Ministry of Defence were discussed.

Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, General (retired) Kamal Gunaratne and a group of officers participated in this meeting.

Expedite amendment of Firearms Act

COPA had directed the officials of the Ministry of Defence to expedite the amendment of the Firearms (Amendment) Act No. 22 of 1996 and the Explosives (Amendment) Act, which have been delayed for many years.
Although the committee had recommended to amend the Firearms (Amendment) Act No. 22 of 1996 and the Explosives (Amendment) Act since 2012, it was revealed that it has been delayed due to various reasons. Officials also said that so far about 37,000 firearms have been licensed in the country. The officials mentioned that the amendment of the Act is in the final stage and the draft bill will be completed soon. The committee emphasized the need to speed up the process as the license fees should be revised and the state revenue will be lost due to this delay. Accordingly, it was also advised to submit a report on the progress.

Although it was mentioned in the constitution that the revenues generated by the services provided to external parties by the armed forces should be credited to the consolidated fund, attention was also drawn to the fact that it was not implemented properly. Although it was previously informed to prepare a proper system related to it and report to the committee, the committee asked about the fact that it has not yet been prepared. The Auditor General’s Department pointed out that since most of the income goes to the welfare associations, a proper system should be set up. Although the services are being successfully carried out, the committee also advised to prepare a clear system in this regard. He also instructed the ministry officials to review this process extensively.

Procurement of food itemsSpecial attention was also paid to the procurement of food items for the three-armed forces. It was revealed at the committee that although earlier recommendations had been given to set up an information management system connecting all the institutions involved in the food items procurement process for the three-armed forces, it is being implemented only in the Navy and the Air Force. Accordingly, the officers were ordered to expedite the preparation of the system for the Army and to submit a report on this. Also, it was emphasized in the committee that parties including the soldiers should receive a meal commensurate with the money spent by the government.

There was also a discussion regarding hiring a housing complex with 24 house units on a lease agreement for 72 million rupees, in order to provide accommodation for the 31 officers participating in the course of the National Defence Academy. Instead of getting houses on such a rent, the Committee Chair advised to pay attention to the possibility of providing accommodation facilities by constructing a new building. The Defence Secretary pointed out that since the construction has been stopped due to the current economic situation, measures will be taken in the future.

Materials worth Rs. 12 mn. misplaced!Attention was also drawn to the misplacement of materials worth 12 million rupees in the consumer goods warehouse. The officials said that all those persons related to this have been suspended and steps have been taken to collect the related money from the storekeeper. It was discussed why this incident was not revealed by the internal audit until it was uncovered by the audit of the Auditor General’s Department.

Apart from this, attention was also paid to the strategic communication network project, procurement process, role of Disaster Management Centre (DMC) etc.

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Major drug bust at Central Mail Exchange

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The Sri Lanka Customs at the Central Mail Exchange (CME) seized multiple consignments containing psychedelic drugs worth over Rs. 43 million, sent from European countries addressed to bogus recipients in Sri Lanka.

Customs Narcotics Control Unit officials following a special surveillance inside the CME detected 25 parcels sent from Germany and the United Kingdom during the weekend and found a variety of narcotics.

The parcels contained the Cannabis variety of ‘Kush’ weighing 1.74 Kgs, Methamphetamine drug contained 2,193 tablets of Ecstasy and 29 grams of Amphetamine drug varieties.

Customs Spokesman Senior Director Seevali Arukgoda said the parcels had been addressed to recipients in Colombo, Battaramulla, Maharagama, Boralesgamuwa, Panadura, Moratuwa and Kandy but all those were found to be fake addresses.

The Customs officials with the CME’s Postal Department officials carried out the inquiries and the contraband was to be handed over to the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB).

(dailymirror.lk)

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First digitized National Birth Certificate in SL, issued

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The first digitized National Birth Certificate with a barcode was issued today (Nov. 05).

The launch event was held at the Kalutara District Secretariat under the patronage of State Minister of Home Affairs –  Ashoka Priyantha.

The state minister notes that measures are already underway to broaden this programme to other districts.

He added that the number given in this National Birth Certificate will be converted into the National Identity Card number as per international standards.

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