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PUCSL takes U-turn on retrospective electricity price hike

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Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the island nation’s power regulator, has taken a U-turn and agreed to the cabinet decision on a retrospective electricity tariff hike with immediate effect after a meeting with President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Janaka Ratnayaka, the PUCSL Chairman, earlier had told media that the cabinet decision to raise electricity tariff retrospectively was against the law and he would not allow such price hike.

“We had a discussion with all the directors of PUCSL on January 12, after the cabinet decision was published where we had decided to not to implement any retrospective electricity tariff going against the electricity and the PUCSL act,” Ratnayaka told reporters on Friday.

“On January 19, all the directors were asked to come to the National Council to discuss this. But before that other three members of the board were called by the President without informing me,” he said.

“After the meeting, at the National Council these three members said they did not receive the decision on time and did not have the time to review the cabinet decisions and data. They said because of that they had agreed with me”.

Ratnayaka said the three commission members went back on the decision taken at the board meeting on January 12, which was that the cabinet decision should be implemented immediately.

“They (the three members) had 7 days from January 12 to 19 and within those days they could have informed me in writing that they had revised their decision. Without doing that, they put me in trouble by suddenly changing their decision in front of the National council,” Ratnayaka said.

“If anyone can (change and) implement an independent commission’s decisions like this, we are doomed. I will personally take legal actions against their actions in the coming days.”

After the National Council, members have asked for a board meeting. Ratnayaka said a board meeting will be called next week.

“Me as the Chairman of the PUCSL and many other members of this organization are strongly stand on our decision,”

He said the tariff needs to be increased and the scientific method of implementing it is now being carried out by the PUCSL.

(economynext.com)

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

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Presidential poll will be held first as scheduled: President affirms

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe affirmed that the Presidential election will be held as scheduled with the General Elections anticipated to be held early next year, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

The President gave this assurance during a meeting with the representatives of the United Republic Front headed by by its leader Parliamentarian Patali Champika Ranawaka at Sirikotha today.

The United Republic Front presented a proposal titled “A United Step for the Country” to President Ranil Wickremesinghe this morning (24), at ‘Srikotha’, the United National Party headquarters in Colombo.

After engaging in discussions with the President, the leader of the United Republic Front, Member of Parliament Patali Champika Ranawaka, along with his delegation, presented this proposal to the President.

Speaking at the event, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, highlighted the government’s concerted efforts over the past two years to stabilize the country’s economy, which had faced significant challenges. 

Stressing the government’s commitment to steering the economy towards recovery through strategic reforms, the President expressed his determination to continue these initiatives with the collective support of everyone.

Recalling his open invitation to all political parties to unite under a common agenda on behalf of the country, regardless of political differences, the President reiterated his willingness to embrace constructive proposals from all political parties as part of the nation-building efforts.

The President responded positively to the request made by MP Patali Champika Ranawaka to allow other political parties to participate in the upcoming negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) next month concerning the restructuring of foreign debts.

United National Party Deputy Leader and President’s Senior Adviser on Climate Change, Ruwan Wijewardena, along with Secretary General of the United National Party Palitha Range Bandara were also in attendance at the event. 

Representing the United Republic Front were Karu Paranavithana, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe and Attorney-at-Law, Shiral Lakthilaka.

(dailymirror.lk)

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Dedicated SLBFE office to be established in Kegalle district

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In response to a joint request from the Kegalle Migrant Workers Committee and the Kegalle District political authority, Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara has assured the establishment of a dedicated Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) office in Kegalle District.

The request was presented during the Jayagamu Sri Lanka program organized by the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment in Kegalle. 

The Committee emphasized the need for an SLBFE office in the district, which has the highest number of migrant workers in Sabaragamuwa Province.

Commending the Minister for his prompt action in establishing a new SLBFE office in Nuwara Eliya District following a similar request, the Committee expressed confidence in his swift response to their current appeal. 

Minister Nanayakkara pledged immediate steps to open an SLBFE office in Kegalle and instructed officials from the Ministry and SLBFE to take the necessary actions for its swift establishment. 

This move aims to enhance support and services for migrant workers in the district.

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Parliamentary committee demands CBSL report on salary hike amid criticism

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Amidst growing criticism over the substantial salary hike for Central Bank employees, a key parliamentary committee has taken action, demanding a report from the Central Bank regarding the legal basis for such an increment without parliamentary approval.

Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Alleviating the Impact of the Economic Crisis, MP Gamini Waleboda, disclosed that the issue was raised during a committee meeting where Central Bank officials were present.

The Central Bank is now expected to submit a comprehensive report on the salary increment in the coming week. Following the submission, the Sectoral Oversight Committee intends to summon the Central Bank and its Monetary Board for further examination.

MP Waleboda highlighted that the committee expressed strong criticism of the 70% salary increase for Central Bank employees, especially given the ongoing economic crisis, deeming it an immoral act.

“We instructed the Central Bank to provide a report by next week to justify the salary increase. They will need to provide the legal provisions that empower them to effect such an increment. We will summon the Central Bank and its Monetary Board after receiving the report,” stated MP Waleboda.

Both government and opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) have voiced objections to the Central Bank’s decision to raise the salary scales by 70%, with Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella asserting that the Central Bank Act lacks provisions for such salary increases without parliamentary approval, deeming it illegal.

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