Connect with us

News

US$ 750mn World Bank loan delayed: Samurdhi recipient list not verified

Published

on

A US$ 750 million loan from the World Bank has been delayed as verification of welfare beneficiaries has not been completed, among other pre-requisites, the Sunday Times learns.

The verification of the beneficiaries was due to be completed by Friday, March 31, but has now been deferred till April 10, thereby delaying the process of applying for the facility.

Under the programme, the recipients will be entitled to Rs 14,000 a month. Both, the IMF and the World Bank have pointed out that several Samurdhi beneficiaries are not below the poverty line and, therefore, not entitled to the benefits. The Government has been asked to prepare a list of ‘genuine’ beneficiaries.

The welfare beneficiary scheme is among six prerequisites to obtain the USD 750 million loan, following the IMF facility obtained two weeks ago.

Among the other pre-conditions are the opening of a Budget office in Parliament, the digitalisation of revenue collection and payments of Inland Revenue, and reforms in the Central Bank.  

A senior government official confirmed these were World Bank prerequisites that had yet to be fulfilled. He said that all the requirements could be completed soon with some of them already in the process of being completed.

The Government also needs to introduce a Social Security Bill under which the welfare payments would be made.

A senior Treasury official said the bill was due to be presented in Parliament this month and the programme could begin in June.

Welfare Benefits Board Chairman B. Wijeratne told the Sunday Times that 3.7 million applications had been received so far for social benefits and 2.4 million applicants had been verified up to date.

“There are several processes to complete the verification. They include an appeal process. We are trying to keep to the schedule,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Government had carried out a trial run of the new system by trying to disburse welfare benefits on the existing beneficiary list and found that Rs 500 million had been overclaimed, indicating that some of the beneficiaries had registered more than once. The new system is to be monitored by a QR code system.

(Sunday Times)

News

Heavy rains across the island

Published

on

By

Due to South-West monsoon conditions which are gradually establishing across the island, prevailing showery and windy conditions will continue further, says the Met. Department.

Showers or thundershowers is to occur at times in Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central, North-western and Southern provinces and in Mannar district.

Showers or thundershowers will occur at several places elsewhere on the island, it said.

Heavy showers above 100mm are likely at some places in Western, Sabaragamuwa and North-western provinces and in Galle, Matara, Kandy, Nuwara-Eliya and Mannar districts.

Fairly strong winds about 30-40 kmph can be expected at times over the island, according to the Meteorology Department.

General public is kindly requested to take adequate precautions to minimize damages caused by temporary localized strong winds and lightning during thundershowers.

Continue Reading

News

Waymba Governor using 3 official residences!

Published

on

By

It is reported that the Governor of the North West Province – Mr. Nasir Ahmed is using two more official residences in addition to the one he is entitled to as the governor.

According to reports, Mr. Ahmed is using the governor’s official residence located at the Kurunegala lake round. In addition, he is also said to be using the official residence of the Kurunegala mayor as well as an official house belonging to the North West Ministry of Agriculture.

Provincial Council sources also state that the previous governor – Mr. Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena too had used other official residences other than the one he was entitled to. However, the governors appointed before that, have not done so.

The occupancy of official quarters not entitled to the relevant official, is illegal and violates government circulars. 

(Souce : Aruna)

Continue Reading

News

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi killed in helicopter crash, official says

Published

on

By

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister were killed in a helicopter crash in mountainous terrain and icy weather, an Iranian official said on Monday, after search teams located the wreckage in East Azerbaijan province.

“President Raisi, the foreign minister and all the passengers in the helicopter were killed in the crash,” the senior Iranian official told Reuters, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Iran’s Mehr news agency confirmed the deaths, reporting that “all passengers of the helicopter carrying the Iranian president and foreign minister were martyred”.

An Iranian official earlier told Reuters the helicopter carrying Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was completely burned in the crash on Sunday.

State TV reported that images from the site showed the aircraft slammed into a mountain peak, although there was no official word on the cause of the crash.

State news agency IRNA said Raisi was flying in a U.S.-made Bell 212 helicopter.

Raisi, 63, was elected president in 2021, and since taking office has ordered a tightening of morality laws, overseen a bloody crackdown on anti-government protests and pushed hard in nuclear talks with world powers.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who holds ultimate power with a final say on foreign policy and Iran’s nuclear programme, had earlier sought to reassure Iranians, saying there would be no disruption to state affairs.

Rescue teams fought blizzards and difficult terrain through the night to reach the wreckage in the early hours of Monday.

“With the discovery of the crash site, no signs of life have been detected among the helicopter’s passengers,” the head of Iran’s Red Crescent, Pirhossein Kolivand, told state TV.

Earlier, the national broadcaster had stopped all regular programming to show prayers being held for Raisi across the country.

In the early hours of Monday, it showed a rescue team, wearing bright jackets and head torches, huddled around a GPS device as they searched a pitch-black mountainside on foot in a blizzard.
Several countries expressed concern and offered assistance in any rescue.

The White House said U.S. President Joe Biden had been briefed on reports about the crash. China said it was deeply concerned. The European Union offered emergency satellite mapping technology.

The crash comes at a time of growing dissent within Iran over an array of political, social and economic crises. Iran’s clerical rulers face international pressure over Tehran’s disputed nuclear programme and its deepening military ties with Russia during the war in Ukraine.

Since Iran’s ally Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, provoking Israel’s assault on Gaza, conflagrations involving Iran-aligned groups have erupted throughout the Middle East.

In Iran’s dual political system, split between the clerical establishment and the government, it is Raisi’s 85-year-old mentor Khamenei, supreme leader since 1989, who holds decision-making power on all major policies.
For years many have seen Raisi as a strong contender to succeed Khamenei, who has endorsed Raisi’s main policies.

Raisi’s victory in a closely managed election in 2021 brought all branches of power under the control of hardliners, after eight years when the presidency had been held by pragmatist Hassan Rouhani and a nuclear deal negotiated with powers including Washington.

However, Raisi’s standing may have been dented by widespread protests against clerical rule and a failure to turn around Iran’s economy, hamstrung by Western sanctions.

Raisi had been at the Azerbaijani border on Sunday to inaugurate the Qiz-Qalasi Dam, a joint project. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, who said he had bid a “friendly farewell” to Raisi earlier in the day, offered assistance in the rescue.

Coming soon: Get the latest news and expert analysis about the state of the global economy with Reuters Econ World. Sign up here.

(Reuters)

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2024 Sri Lanka Mirror. All Rights Reserved