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Gazette suspending bathware imports, an injustice  – COPF

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The Committee on Public Finance was of the view that Regulations published in the Extra Ordinary gazette Notification 2296/30, Under the Import and Export (Control) Act No. 1 of 1969 should be subjected to further consideration and that consideration should also be given as to whether approval for such would stand as justifiable by the consumer.

This was discussed at the Committee on Public Finance which met yesterday (01) under the chairmanship of Hon. (Dr.) Harsha de Silva, Member of Parliament.

This Gazette was published in relation to a temporary suspension on the importation of sanitary fixtures and bathware items such as Squatting pans and wash basins. Furthermore, the Members of the Committee also took into consideration the monopoly created within the market due to the banning of importation of tiles by the same Gazette. The Committee also considered the fact that in an environment where imports have been suspended, the high rise of prices in bathroom accessories and tiles and the inability to meet the rising demands which is causing great injustice to the consumer. Accordingly, the committee recommended the Ministry of Finance to submit a report in this regard.

The Regulations under the Import and Export (Control) Act mentioned in the Extraordinary Gazette Notification 2298/55 was also considered at the Committee meeting to which approval was granted. This Gazette will permit foreign workers to import electric motor vehicles based on the value of their remittances.

The Regulations under the Import and Export (Control) Act mentioned in the Extraordinary Gazette Notification 2297/79 was also considered at the Committee meeting held. This intends to extend the period for import of essential food items under an open account system.

The committee paid attention regarding on which basis the quantities to import rice, maize and other items to Sri Lanka were decided upon.

Furthermore, the Members of the Committee directed attention regarding importing rice in excess and mixing for the purpose of sale. Also, given the import of raw materials required for the production of animal feed is a concern, it was noted that the egg and poultry industry is in a dire state and therefore, the price of eggs and poultry has increased.

On inquiring into these circumstances, the Committee expressed its displeasure at the absence of any data-based information in this regard and recommended to the relevant authorities to submit a report containing clear data to the committee within a period of 02 months.

Furthermore, the Appropriation Bill for the year 2023 was discussed at the Committee on Public Finance and the committee members questioned how optimistic the Ministry of Finance is regarding the estimates presented in this budget. The notion that more attention should be given to those with a low income in this year’s budget was also discussed by the Committee.

State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister (Dr.) Suren Raghavan, Members of Parliament Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Chandima Weerakkody, (Prof) Ranjith Bandara, Madhura Withanage, Premnath C. Dolawatte and many officials 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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