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Funds lost due to public sector engaging in business –  President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that due to the public sector engaging in business activities, the money that was available for the construction of 100 projects similar to the Mahaweli during the past decades, has been destroyed. 

He noted that in the future, the public sector will stop engaging in business and open it to the private sector to create a free and productive economy. 

President Wickremesinghe mentioned this at the 71st commemoration ceremony of the late Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake at Independence Square today (22). 

Recalling that Mr. D.S. Senanayake’s vision was to create a free economy, the President said that business should be done by the private sector and that the country could be developed with the tax revenue obtained from them. 

However, due to the nationalization in 1956, the Government started engaging in business and that is why the tax revenue was inadequate for the development of the country, the President pointed out.

He stated that the country has distanced itself from Mr. D.S. Senanayake’s vision, but following his vision, Singapore has become a developed country today and said that despite our politicians dreaming of making Sri Lanka a Singapore, the destruction caused to Sri Lanka in the last 75 years due to the decisions of certain political movements is immense. 

Therefore, the President further mentioned that Senanayake’s legacy should be carried forward to build a strong and powerful Sri Lanka.

President Wickremesinghe also laid floral tributes at the statue of the late D. S. Senanayake. 

The Chief Incumbent of the Kollupitiya Polwatta Sri Dharmakeerthi Monastery Venerable Dr. Bandarawela Wimaladharma Thera delivered a special sermon.  

Member of Parliament Vajira Abeywardena, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff to the President Mr Sagala Ratnayake, Senior Advisor to the President on Climate Change Mr Ruwan Wijayawardena, Former Speaker Mr Karu Jayasuriya, Former Ministers Ravi Karunanayake, Rohitha Bogollagama, Karunasena Kodithuwakku, Rukman Senanayake, former Colombo Mayor Rosy Senanayake, former Provincial Councilor Shantini Kongahage, Army Commander Lt. Gen. Vikum Liyanage and several others attended the event. 

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Lanka to take up bottom trawling

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When Indian Foreign Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visits Colombo next week, the government is to take up the issue of Indian fishermen entering Sri Lanka’s northern territorial waters three days a week and engaging in illegal bottom trawling, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said.

The Indian fishermen are expected to be back in Sri Lankan waters after a two-month-long annual breeding ban was lifted on Friday.

When President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited New Delhi last Sunday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the matter was raised at a meeting with Minister Dr. Jaishnakar.

“As a nation, we have to protect our resources, interests, and the livelihood of our fisherfolks. I hope to raise the issue in the next Cabinet meeting (June 19) as well,” Minister Devananda said.

Days before the Indian authorities lifted the annual breeding ban, a group of fishermen’s unions based in the North handed over a petition on Tuesday to officials at the Indian consulate office in Jaffna requesting India to take immediate steps to prevent Indian fishermen from coming into Sri Lankan waters at the expense of their livelihood.

The fishermen’s unions, which formed a collective called the Northern Fishermen’s Alliance, requested President Wickremesinghe

in a petition to urge Indian authorities to “expedite their maximum efforts to monitoring and preventing the daily incursion of thousands of Tamil Nadu trawlers every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday evenings.”

The two-month-long ban, which came into effect on April 14 and was lifted on Friday, is enforced to facilitate the breeding of fish banks in the ocean and maintain the equilibrium of marine sources for sustainability.

Currently, Indian fishermen who engage in fishing in Sri Lankan territorial waters are arrested by the Navy and Coast Guard and subjected to legal action after their trawlers are seized.

Following the legal action in which the magistrate courts hand in a suspended sentence of eighteen months for engaging in fishing without a licence, fishermen are released and repatriated with the assistance of Indian diplomatic missions.

(sundaytimes.lk)

(This story, originally published by sundaytimes.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Sri Lankan Youth to Be Freed from Cyber Camps in Myanmar

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State Minister of Foreign Affairs Tharaka Balasooriya said on his visit to Myanmar, he came to know that more than 100,000 youth from different countries are forcibly housed in the cyber camps in Myanmar, and 53,000 of them are Chinese nationals.

He was speaking to reporters at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday after completing an official visit to Myanmar and Thailand.

State Minister Balasooriya said, “We are confident that the 49 Sri Lankans who are forcibly held in cyber camps in Myanmar will be freed in the near future.” In addition to his visit to Myanmar, the State Minister also visited Thailand and discussed bilateral issues with the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Justice and Home Affairs, as well as several Non-Governmental Organisations. They also discussed the forcible holding of youth from different countries in the cyber camps in Myanmar. They agreed that regional Governments should work together to secure their release.

(sundayobserver.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by sundayobserver.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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IMF proposes new imputed rental income tax for Sri Lanka

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has proposed the introduction of an imputed rental income tax on owner-occupied and vacant residential properties in Sri Lanka, to be implemented by April 1, 2025. 

This recommendation comes as part of the IMF’s latest report on Sri Lanka, highlighting the need for sustained revenue mobilization efforts amid institutional challenges that hindered the initially planned property tax for 2025.

The IMF report emphasizes the importance of establishing a comprehensive property valuation database by August 2024, which will include assessed values, the latest assessment dates, and property types for all municipal councils. 

This database is a crucial step towards the effective implementation of the new tax.

Additionally, the report calls for the full operationalization of a nationwide digital Sales Price and Rents Register (SPRR) by the end of March 2025. 

This register will be accessible by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), the valuation department, the land registry, and the public, serving as a key resource for assessing property values and the imputed rental income tax.

The IMF recognizes ongoing vulnerabilities and uncertainties in Sri Lanka, particularly concerning debt restructuring and the upcoming elections. 

The IMF directors have urged Sri Lankan authorities to continue strengthening macroeconomic policies to restore economic stability and debt sustainability while maintaining the momentum of reforms to promote long-term inclusive growth.

In support of Sri Lanka’s economic policies and reforms, the IMF Executive Board has completed the 2024 Article IV Consultation and Second Review under the 48-month Extended Fund Facility. 

This completion provides Sri Lanka with immediate access to SDR 254 million (approximately USD 336 million).

Moreover, the IMF has highlighted the importance of enacting the Asset Recovery Bill, following necessary public consultations, by November 2024. This bill is expected to play a significant role in enhancing fiscal responsibility and transparency within the country.

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