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Foods stalls at the Colombo Port City to be removed by March 2027

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The Members representing the Colombo Port City Economic Commission stated that the foods stalls at the Colombo Port City falls under leisure activities and will be removed by March 2027.

This was stated in response to the questioning of the Committee on Public Finance as to the legality of the establishment of such food stalls whilst the Colombo Port City was designed mainly targeting foreign investments.

The discussion pertaining to the said was held at the Committee on Public Finance held yesterday (12) in Parliament, Chaired by Dr. Harsha de Silva. The Committee took into consideration the Regulations under the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act, No. 11 of 2021 scheduled to be present in Parliament on Tuesday, 19th of September.

The Committee further inquired the Commission members on what legal basis have they decided to permit the establishment of such food stalls and on what grounds will they be removed by 2027. The Committee further questioned whether the Attorney General has been consulted on this regard.  

The Committee instructed the Colombo Port City Economic Commission and the Attorney General’s Department to submit information on this regard to the Committee as soon as possible.

The Committee further inquired regarding the revenue received by the Government by the ongoing activities at the port city. The Committee instructed the officials to submit all details with regard to this for a better understanding prior to granting approval for the Regulations.

Furthermore, given that the Port City is being constructed as a separate land mass under a Smart City concept, the Committee questioned the Colombo Port City Economic Commission members present whether smart city concepts such as waste water management, renewable energy, proper sewerage mechanisms have been included. The Committee was of the view that issues experienced in other areas of the country pertaining to improper sewerage and waste water management should be avoided when developing the port city. 

It was also disclosed that government institutions such as the Road Development Authority, Urban Development Authority, water board has spent a considerable amount of money to facilitate the construction and development of the Port City. Since all of this are tax payer money, the Committee questioned the Commission what gains do the tax paying citizens of the country would have from this.

Accordingly, the Committee on Public Finance instructed the Members of the Commission to submit a breakdown of the government expenses for the Port City and infrastructure and also to provide details of the streams of revenue.

State Minister – Dr. Seetha Arambepola, MPs Chandima Weerakkodi, Nimal Lanza, Dr. Major Pradeep Undugoda, Premnath C. Dolawatte, Madhura Withanage, U.K Sumith Udukumbura, were present at this Committee meeting held.

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Presidential poll will be held first as scheduled: President affirms

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe affirmed that the Presidential election will be held as scheduled with the General Elections anticipated to be held early next year, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

The President gave this assurance during a meeting with the representatives of the United Republic Front headed by by its leader Parliamentarian Patali Champika Ranawaka at Sirikotha today.

The United Republic Front presented a proposal titled “A United Step for the Country” to President Ranil Wickremesinghe this morning (24), at ‘Srikotha’, the United National Party headquarters in Colombo.

After engaging in discussions with the President, the leader of the United Republic Front, Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka, along with his delegation, presented this proposal to the President.

Speaking at the event, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, highlighted the government’s concerted efforts over the past two years to stabilize the country’s economy, which had faced significant challenges. 

Stressing the government’s commitment to steering the economy towards recovery through strategic reforms, the President expressed his determination to continue these initiatives with the collective support of everyone.

Recalling his open invitation to all political parties to unite under a common agenda on behalf of the country, regardless of political differences, the President reiterated his willingness to embrace constructive proposals from all political parties as part of the nation-building efforts.

The President responded positively to the request made by MP Patali Champika Ranawaka to allow other political parties to participate in the upcoming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month concerning the restructuring of foreign debts.

United National Party Deputy Leader and President’s Senior Adviser on Climate Change, Ruwan Wijewardena, along with Secretary General of the United National Party Palitha Range Bandara were also in attendance at the event. 

Representing the United Republic Front were Karu Paranavithana, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe and Attorney-at-Law, Shiral Lakthilaka.

(dailymirror.lk)

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Dedicated SLBFE office to be established in Kegalle district

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In response to a joint request from the Kegalle Migrant Workers Committee and the Kegalle District political authority, Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara has assured the establishment of a dedicated Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) office in Kegalle District.

The request was presented during the Jayagamu Sri Lanka program organized by the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment in Kegalle. 

The Committee emphasized the need for an SLBFE office in the district, which has the highest number of migrant workers in Sabaragamuwa Province.

Commending the Minister for his prompt action in establishing a new SLBFE office in Nuwara Eliya District following a similar request, the Committee expressed confidence in his swift response to their current appeal. 

Minister Nanayakkara pledged immediate steps to open an SLBFE office in Kegalle and instructed officials from the Ministry and SLBFE to take the necessary actions for its swift establishment. 

This move aims to enhance support and services for migrant workers in the district.

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Parliamentary committee demands CBSL report on salary hike amid criticism

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Amidst growing criticism over the substantial salary hike for Central Bank employees, a key parliamentary committee has taken action, demanding a report from the Central Bank regarding the legal basis for such an increment without parliamentary approval.

Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Alleviating the Impact of the Economic Crisis, MP Gamini Waleboda, disclosed that the issue was raised during a committee meeting where Central Bank officials were present.

The Central Bank is now expected to submit a comprehensive report on the salary increment in the coming week. Following the submission, the Sectoral Oversight Committee intends to summon the Central Bank and its Monetary Board for further examination.

MP Waleboda highlighted that the committee expressed strong criticism of the 70% salary increase for Central Bank employees, especially given the ongoing economic crisis, deeming it an immoral act.

“We instructed the Central Bank to provide a report by next week to justify the salary increase. They will need to provide the legal provisions that empower them to effect such an increment. We will summon the Central Bank and its Monetary Board after receiving the report,” stated MP Waleboda.

Both government and opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have voiced objections to the Central Bank’s decision to raise the salary scales by 70%, with Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella asserting that the Central Bank Act lacks provisions for such salary increases without parliamentary approval, deeming it illegal.

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