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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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Presidential Poll can be held with Acting IGP – Fmr. Election Chief

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Former Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said there is no obstacle to holding the Presidential Election with an Acting Inspector General of Police.

He said he believes the current IGP can hold the position he held before until the court hearing concludes.

He said he believes a suitable person should be appointed as Acting IGP tomorrow, adding that there may be no IGP until the hearing concludes, but the election can be held under an Acting IGP.

He added that there is no issue because if the country is governed under an appointed President, it is not a big deal to conduct the election under an Acting IGP.

(News1st) 

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Japan officially notifies SL to resume disbursement to Yen loan projects

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Following the completion of the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) and Sri Lanka on 23 July and the expression of the willingness by the Government of Sri Lanka to swiftly conclude a bilateral agreement on debt restructuring, the Government of Japan has officially decided to resume disbursement to Yen Loan Projects, which had been suspended since the default of Sri Lanka in 2022.

On 24 July, the Government of Sri Lanka, the Embassy of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Sri Lanka Office held a joint press conference to inaugurate this milestone decision at Ministry of Finance.

While congratulating the completion of the MOU on debt restructuring between Sri Lanka and the OCC, Ambassador MIZUKOSHI Hideaki highlighted the unprecedented initiative and outstanding contribution by the Government of Japan, as a co-chair of the OCC, in leading and concluding the public debt restructuring.

Ambassador Mizukoshi also commended Sri Lankan authorities for their ongoing efforts in implementing the comprehensive economic and social reforms essential to guide the country back to a sustainable path. He stated that all the suspended yen loan projects are crucial infrastructures that promote Sri Lanka’s economic growth and further reaffirmed Japan’s continuous and unwavering commitment to supporting Sri Lanka.

On behalf of Mr. Yamada Tetsuya, Chief Representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office, Ms. Ide Yuri, Senior Representative, handed over the official letter on this decision to Mr. Mahinda Siriwardana, Secretary to the Treasury, which is addressed to President Wickremesinghe from Dr. Tanaka Akihiko, President of JICA.

Ms. Ide Yuri expressed her hope that the resumption of Yen loan projects will contribute to stabilizing the economy and society of Sri Lanka and help gain momentum toward long-term sustainable growth, thus paving the way for Sri Lanka to recover trust and confidence from the people and private businesses of both Sri Lanka and the world.

Secretary Siriwardana expressed his profound gratitude for this decision and sincere appreciation for Japan’s excellent initiative and long-term dedication in the debt restructuring.

It is hoped that the resumption of disbursement to Yen loan projects would further strengthen the bond between Japan and Sri Lanka, as well as help this island nation bring itself back on track for further economic development, serving as a hub in the Indian Ocean.

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Cabinet takes decision following SC order on IGP

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During a special Cabinet briefing today (July 24), it has been decided to announce its response to the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the Inspector General of Police (IGP) within the next two days after studying in depth the legal aspects of the matter.

The special cabinet meeting chaired by President Ranil Wickramasinghe was held this evening at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.

The Cabinet of Ministers had been of the opinion that since the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the IGP was received only this afternoon, adequate time is needed to conduct an in-depth study of the related legal issues.

Accordingly, it was unanimously decided that it would be most suitable to announce the response of the Cabinet in the next two days.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court issued an interim order preventing Deshabandu Tennakoon from performing duties and functioning in the position of the IGP.

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