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IMF loan expected in March – President

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During a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat on February 16th, President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced that an International Monetary Fund (IMF) EFF loan is expected to be received in March.

The President also mentioned that the possibility of reducing bank interest rates is being considered in line with the gradual drop of inflation rate.

The discussion was aimed at identifying the issues faced by small and large-scale rice mill owners and finding solutions to resolve them.

The rice mill owners brought up the fact that the production cost of a kilogram of rice has increased due to various factors, including the rise in fuel prices, electricity charges, machinery maintenance costs, transportation costs, and all other production and administrative expenses.

They noted that they would incur losses by selling their product at the current market price as it is lower than the production cost.

The rice mill owners also pointed out the difficulty of paying a high interest rate of 28% on bank loans taken to purchase paddy. It was mentioned that the production cost of a kilogram of paddy has increased due to the rapid increase in prices of the agricultural inputs for paddy cultivation. Farmers have had to pay a high interest rate on bank loans they had taken for cultivation.

As a result, the rice mill owners demanded relief for the rice industry, which has reached a difficult stage to maintain operations due to the increase in production costs for both cultivation and rice mills.

The President acknowledged their concerns and stated that it was the government’s expectation to provide all possible relief to consumers as well as farmers.

The President instructed officials to seek means of increasing paddy production by reducing production costs and finding solutions to the problems faced by rice mill owners without delay. The discussion ended with the President’s assurance to work towards finding a solution to the issues faced by the rice industry.

President’s Secretary Mr. Saman Ekanayake, President’s Senior Adviser on Economic Affairs Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, Presidential Adviser on Food Security Dr. Suren Batagoda, government officials and representatives of small and large scale rice mills including Mr. Dudley Sirisena attended the discussion.

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Sri Lanka Railways GM passes away

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Sri Lanka Railways General Manager H. M. K. W. Bandara passed away today (23) due to a sudden illness.

He  was appointed as the railways chief in November 2023.

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Chinese communist party vice minister Sun Haiyan visits Sri Lanka

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Vice Minister of the International Department of the Chinese Communist Party, Sun Haiyan, is set to arrive in Sri Lanka today for a two-day official visit, as reported by The Thinakaran Newspaper.

During her visit, Sun Haiyan is scheduled to engage in discussions with high-ranking government officials, including President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

The discussions are anticipated to cover various bilateral matters of mutual interest between China and Sri Lanka.

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Two killed in police shooting following failed checkpoint stop

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Two people died in police fire on Tuesday (23) morning.

The Police Media Division said that officers opened fire at a three wheeler that failed to comply with orders to stop at a checkpoint near the Meegoda – Delketiya junction.

The incident took place at around 1:50 AM.

Sri Lanka Police said that after officers ordered the three wheeler to stop, the driver had slowed down the vehicle, and those inside had opened fire at the police and fled to Moragahahena.

Accordingly, the Moragahahena Police was immediately informed of the shooting.

A group of officers from the Colombo South Crimes Division who were at the Moragahahena Police for a separate inquiry upon hearing the incident had attempted to stop the three wheeler from fleeing.

The three wheeler that continued to disregard orders to stop had proceeded to the Tyre Factory located along the Meepe Road in Moragahahena, where shots were fired at them by officers from the Colombo South Crimes Division.

Sri Lanka Police said two people who were injured in the shooting succumbed to their injuries upon admission to hospital.

Another person who was in the three wheeler had fled the scene.

The deceased were 42 and 35 year old males from Thanamalvila.

Police said a firearm was also recovered from the three wheeler’

(newsfirst.lk)

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

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