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LLDF defers considering 9 projects worth Rs. 249mn.



The ‘Local Loans and Development Fund’ under the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government was summoned to the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) which met on July 20 under the chairmanship of Member of Parliament Prof. Ranjith Bandara.

This institution has been established by Ordinance No. 22 of 1916 with the aim of providing financial facilities at a concessional interest rate to the local government bodies for running public utility services as authorized by law. It has been amended on several occasions and has been named as the Local Loans and Development Fund under Act No. 24 of 1993.

The investigation was done through the following basic facts related to the Auditor General’s reports for the financial years 2020, 2021 and current performance.

Need to amend the Act

Since this is a financial institution similar to a bank, the need to amend the Act was emphasized by taking into consideration the timely matters. According to the Act, it is not appropriate for the Secretary of the Ministry to act as the Chairman of the Fund, so the Auditor General pointed out the importance of making amendments by focusing on all those matters.

It was discussed that, in 2018 ‘Asian Foundation’ had given a report regarding the restructuring of the institution and if it had been acted upon, great progress could have been achieved.

Since the Prime Minister as the Minister in charge of the subject has also held a discussion to amend the Act, the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government was informed to take steps promptly. 

Need to make the posts of Director General and Internal Auditor full time permanent posts

The committee’s attention was drawn to the fact that the position of Director General has been an acting position for many years. It was also discussed about the absence of a permanent Internal Auditor. Accordingly, the COPE ordered to inform within two weeks about the next steps to be taken to appoint a permanent Director General as well as a full-time permanent Internal Auditor.

Absence of a formal system for disbursement of loans, project evaluation, and loan recovery

It was revealed that the fund has received 9 projects worth 249 million rupees in the year 2023, but the board of directors has not considered them yet.

Thus, it was recommended that a formal system and set of guidelines be set up, focusing on issues such as granting and recovery criteria, loan recovery capabilities, projects using loans and productivity. The committee emphasized the need for the loan committee to operate according to that formal system.

Need to streamline the system of loan distribution to each province

The COPE chairman revealed that 691 million rupees of the total loan amount of 847.7 million rupees has been given to the North-Western Province in 2021. The committee recommended that the loan distribution system to each province be streamlined.

Streamline the Internal Audit 

The committee discussed about the lack of a permanent Internal Auditor to conduct the internal audit properly. It was recommended to recruit a permanent Internal Auditor and to provide the audit reports for the years 2011 and 2012 to the Auditor General within a month. It was also advised to implement the recommendations of the National Audit Commission.

A Corporate plan has been prepared for the period of 2019-2023, but it was revealed that it has not been approved. Accordingly, the committee advised to approve a corporate plan from 2023 to 2028.

Attention was also paid to the non-recovery of a loan amount of 12 million rupees given to the Dambulla Pradeshiya Saba in 1995, under the multi-crop development project, and the loan amount of 60.9 million rupees given to the Kandy Municipal Council. Accordingly, it was advised to take the relevant legal steps immediately.

The COPE Chairman emphasized that the activities of the ‘Local Loans and Development Fund’, which is the only institution that provides financial assistance to development activities through local government bodies, should be more streamlined. It was also decided to summon this institution in another six months.


19th Asian Games to kick off at Hangzhou in China Today




The 19th edition of the Asian Games is all set to kick off today in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Delayed by a year due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions, the 19th edition of the event is set to officially begin with a two-hour opening ceremony from 5.30pm.

The opening ceremony for the Asian Games will take place at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, which is capable of accommodating up to 80,000 people.

The stadium was completed in 2018 and is mostly used for soccer matches, features a retractable roof, a circular LED screen, and a natural grass field.

Dating back to 1951, the Games are bigger than the Olympics when it comes to the number of athletes and sports – and this year’s competition is billed as the biggest in history.

Nearly 12,500 athletes – more than ever – from 45 countries and territories will be competing across 40 sports. The Games will be held in 56 venues, 12 of which have been newly built.

The programme includes the more traditional events, such as athletics and swimming but also those which reflect Asia’s diverse sporting culture, such as sepak takraw, or kick volleyball, kabaddi, and wushu, a martial art.

China, as the host country, has the privilege of choosing which sports to include in the programme, with bridge, chess and Xiangqi (Chinese chess) being among the non-Olympic events featured in the schedule.

Meanwhile, e-sports, breakdancing and sport climbing will be making their Games debut, in an effort to attract the interest of younger people.

FIFA Online 4, Street Fighter V and League of Legends are among the seven e-sport medal events.

The Games will see participants competing for 481 gold medals across 15 days.

Sri Lanka is fielding a 96-member contingent with 62 male and 34 female athletes.

The closing ceremony on October 8 will include the handover to Japan before the 2026 Aichi-Nagoya Games.

Qatar will host the Asian Games in 2030.

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Minister of Agriculture explores opportunities to export eggs and chicken




Minister of Agriculture Mahinda Amaraweera instructed the relevant officials to look into the opportunities of exporting eggs and chicken.

He says that chicken and eggs are already being exported to several countries including the Maldives.

Minister Amaraweera says that Sri Lanka will have to import eggs in the upcoming festive season.

However, he says says that steps have been taken to ensure that eggs and chicken will be produced within the country, by next year.

The Minister of Agriculture says that a surplus of eggs is expected to be created by August 2024, and that plans have already been made to look into the opportunities in the world market.


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Anura Kumara asks Pilleyan if he is still paid by intelligence services




Claiming that the group led by Parliamentarian Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pilleyan has been paid Rs.3.5 million per month by the intelligence services, NPP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake questioned whether the group is still being paid that amount. 

He told parliament that Pilleyan’s group has been maintained and paid from the account of the Intelligence Services.   

The MP said this during a cross-talk with Pilleyan after Dissanayake alleged that most of those who were accused of their failure to prevent the Easter attacks and those who were accused of committing the crime such as Pilleyan are with the government now. 

“You and your group were paid and maintained by the intelligence units Rs. 3.5 million per month. We want to know whether you are still being paid,” MP Dissanayake questioned Pilleyan.   

Speaking during the adjournment debate on the exposure by Channel 4 on the Easter Sunday attacks, Dissanayake said reasonable investigation into the Easter attacks cannot be expected as those who were accused of their failure to prevent the attacks and those who were accused of committing the crime such as Pilleyan are with the government now.   

“The faction that failed to prevent the attacks such as then President Maithripala Sirisena, then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, heads of intelligence units such as SIS are with the government. Those who are accused of committing the crime such as Pilleyan and Gotabaya Rajapaksa also represent the government. So, how can we expect a reasonable investigation,” he asked.

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