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National policy to ensure food security – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that new laws are expected to be introduced in the future to ensure food security.

The President also said that plans are being made to present the related bills to parliament soon.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe said this while joining the discussion held today (13) at Temple Trees to brief the representatives of the Joint Mechanism Committee on Food Security and Nutrition.

The President also emphasized the need to obtain accurate data in establishing food security and the nutritional status of the people and stressed that there have been disparities in the data available at the national level and at the regional level which should be rectified immediately.

In order to make this program a success, the President stressed that the contribution of everyone from the national level to the divisional secretary and Grama Seva Niladhari officer level is necessary and pointed out that not only the public sector but the private sector too has a great role to play.

President Wickremesinghe added that a long-term program is needed to promote agriculture in the country, and the government has already focused on the agricultural modernization program.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, expressing his views said that the program initiated by the President is very important for national food security. Pointing out that foreign exchange can also be saved by ensuring food security in the country, the Prime Minister said that he expects to produce all the food items needed by the people within the country and will work to provide government support for it.

The Prime Minister also said that due to certain decisions taken in the past, there was some setback in the country’s agriculture sector, but added that the background needed to face the upcoming monsoon season has currently been built in the country.

Agriculture Minister – Mahinda Amaraweera said that today’s farmers are strong enough to produce all the rice required for Sri Lanka’s consumption within the country, adding that they will provide all necessary facilities for it.

Minister of State for Media Shanta Bandara and Member of Parliament Chamal Rajapaksa also expressed their views. Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Kanchana Wijesekera, Ali Sabri, Nasir Ahmed, Keheliya Rambukwella, Wijayadasa Rajapakshe, Nalin Fernando, Douglas Devananda, State Ministers Sisira Jayakody, Sanath Nishantha, Mohan Silva, Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon, Jagath Pushpakumara, Anuradha Jayaratne, Kader Masthan, Janaka Wakkambura, Ashoka Priyantha, Chamara Sampath Dassanayake, Members of Parliament Duminda Dissanayake, S. M. Chandrasena, Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera, Nimal Lanza, Vajira Abeywardena, Dayasiri Jayasekara, Jagath Kumara, Ranjith Bandara, M. A. Sumanthiran, Chief of Presidential Staff and Senior Advisor to the President on National Security Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayake, Senior Advisor to the President on Food Security Dr Suren Batagoda and a group of public officials attended the event.

President Media Division (PMD)
13-12-2022

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Rs. 20 Bn loan lifeline for SMEs

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The government has taken measures to implement a Rs.20 billion credit scheme to revive the micro, small and medium enterprise sector in Sri Lanka.  

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers has granted its consent to the proposal forwarded by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies Minister to implement a credit scheme to revive the micro, small and medium enterprise sector.

Speaking at the weekly Cabinet media briefing held yesterday at the Government Information Department, Cabinet Spokesman, Transport, Highways and Mass Media Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana said the proposed Rs.20 billion will be spent on the entire project which has two components.

“Out of this, Rs.15 billion will be used to strengthen existing and new enterprises and the remaining amount of Rs.five billion will be used to support enterprises under the non-performing loan category.

A significant number of small and medium scale entrepreneurs involved in manufacturing, import, export, tourism, apparel and various other commercial operations have found it very difficult to continue running their enterprises as a result of the economic downturn and the impact of external factors beyond their control.

The Asian Development Bank has agreed to provide working capital support for the Small and Medium Enterprise sector as a relief. The proposed programme is intended to provide credit facilities to existing micro, small and medium scale enterprises for further expansion and recovery of their businesses through licensed commercial banks and licensed specialised banks at concessional interest rates.

(dailynews.lk)

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Bakery industry in crisis as bread and bun sales decline

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The All Ceylon Bakery Owners’ Association (ACBOA) has reported a significant drop of around 50% in the sales of cakes, bread, and buns in the local market. The association attributes this decline to the high manufacturing costs currently faced by the bakery industry.

According to the ACBOA, the costs of margarine and butter have surged to Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 3,000 per kilogram, respectively. Additionally, the association cited challenges in obtaining imported eggs from India, forcing them to purchase locally produced eggs at Rs. 60 each.

The chairman of the association expressed concerns about the impact these rising costs have on the bakery industry. In light of these challenges, the ACBOA is urging the government to provide concessions and work towards reducing the prices of essential ingredients before the upcoming Sinhala and Hindu New Year.

The association’s plea emphasizes the need for government support to help stabilize the bakery industry and ensure its sustainability amid the current economic challenges. Further updates on the situation and any government response will be monitored closely.

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Former Minister Ronnie de Mel no more

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Former Minister – Ronnie de Mel has passed away today (27) while being treated at a private hospital, reports say.

He was aged 99 years old.A former civil servant, he was the Minister of Finance from 1977 – 1988 under the United National Party government and holds the record for the largest number of budgets presented by a finance minister.

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