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BOI director says situation improving



The Board of Investment Director General Sanjaya Mohottala stated that more than 26,500 PCR tests have been carried out in the factories under the purview of BOI between Oct 8 and 28.

A statement issued by the BOI states that 16,527 PCRs had been done in the 14 Investment Promotion Zones and are awaiting results of another 495 tests. 423 COVID-19 infected patients have been identified with these tests out of which 411 from the Katunayake Zone and 12 from Biyagama Zone.

No cases have been reported thus far from the other 12 zones. Proper health and safety precautions are strictly adhered to in all the places including the houses, hostels, transportation and inside the factories in addition to constant reminders and workshops on workplace safety and health precautions. 7708 PCR tests have been done in 69 factories inside the Katunayake Zone. 3981 tests have been concluded in 48 factories in Biyagama. PCR tests have been done in all other zones as well.

Mohottala further states that more PCR tests will be done in accordance to the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health.

There are 1615 factories which are under the BOI purview which are situated outside the Investment Zones. And 10,051 PCR tests have been done in these factories as well during this period of time.

Mr Mohottala commenting on COVID infected workers states: “…considering our zones, there is 411 from Katunayake and 12 from Biyagama but there seems to be a decline. And outside of the Zones from Gampaha District where the initial outbreak started there have been 1003 from our factories and 53 from the factories in Colombo District, three from Kurunegala District and one from Hambanthota.” He adds that all factories in general are strictly adhering to health and safety guidelines and the BOI Sri Lanka is upholding the relevant regulations

There are 1615 factories which are registered under the BOI Sri Lanka which are dispersed all over the 25 districts of the island. Around six hundred thousand are employed in these factories. And another hundred and thirty-three thousand are contributing to the production process inside the 14 Investment Zones. And other millions make their bread through the indirect employments provided via these factories. More than 70% of the export income is provided by this workforce.

The government owes a debt of gratitude to all the MOHs, PHIs, security forces, divisional secretaries, investors and staff, Navy unit attached to the Katunayake Zone and also the staff of BOI Sri Lanka going above and beyond their work description providing a holistic effort in controlling the spread of the second wave. If not for their excellent service and devotion the situation could have been very much worse.

In the prevailing global pandemic, to continue the national economy humming steadily, the production process must be carried out continuously. Mohottala concludes that he hopes that considering it as a duty of the nation, all the relevant parties would continue to adhere to health and safety guidelines and giving the necessary support, fulfilling the citizens’ responsibility.

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Govt. allows private operators to import fuel for industries – minister



ECONOMYNEXT – The Government has allowed private bunker fuel operators to import fuel for industries, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said on Friday, in a bid to reduce the burden on cash-strapped state-run fuel retailer Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).

The move comes as a severe dollar shortage has reduced CPC’s ability to import fuel and meet the demand as earlier amid long motorists’ queues for fuel.

“Approval was given to all the private bunker fuel operators to import and provide diesel and fuel oil requirements of industries to function their Generators and Machinery,” Wijesekera said in his Twitter platform.

“This will ease the burden on CPC and fuel stations providing in bulk. The meeting was held yesterday.”

Approval was given to all the Private Bunker Fuel Operators to Import and provide Diesel and Fuel Oil requirements of Industries to function their Generators and Machinery. This will ease the burden on CPC and Fuel Stations providing in bulk. The meeting was held yesterday.

— Kanchana Wijesekera (@kanchana_wij) May 27, 2022

In April, Sri Lanka cabinet has agreed to amend the Petroleum Products Act making provisions to issue licenses to “properly identified parties” to import fuel which will end an import monopoly held by the CPC.

There was a push to make the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) to import its own oil as the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation was unable to get foreign exchange and the power utility ran out of cash due to lack of a price increases.

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Protesters ask PM to serve justice for May 09 attack



ECONOMYNEXT – Hundreds of anti-government protesters agitated in front of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesighe ’s office Colombo demanding justice for May 09 attack by the supporters of previous prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and immediate measures to overcome ongoing economic crisis to prevent a looming social unrest.

The youth-led groups which had been protesting near presidential secretariat and prime minister’s official residence in the heart of commercial Colombo shifted neat the prime minister’s office and shouted against the new government’s inaction against the brutal attack at unarmed and peaceful protesters by Rajapaksa supporters on May 09.

They demanded the new Prime Minister Wickremesinghe to implement the rule of law without being biased to any parties and serve the country.

Rukshan, a 25 years old protester said, as per the initial demands of their protests, former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from his position, but his successor should do his duties towards the country and the people without trying to protect corrupt politicians.

“When we started the protest back in April our main demand was to bring all Rajapaksas before justice and get all the wealth they have stolen from the common people of this country,”  Rukshan told Economy Next.

The protest started around mid-day on Thursday (26) and protesters’ route was blocked by police barricades on the main road in front of the prime minister’s office.

The protesters, however, withdrew from their positions and regrouped at a nearby road to go towards the Wickremesinghe’s office.

However, by the time the protesters regrouped, a court order was issued by the Fort Magistrate to stop the protest due to inconvenience to the public.

“Ranil Wickramasinghe should remember why he is here now. We’re not asking him to resign. He is here to do his duty towards this country and its people,” Rukshan said.

“On May 09, we were attacked but no justice has been served yet. That is the main reason we came today to the prime minister’s office,” he said.

“We still see queues for medicine, fuel, and gas. To be honest, there is no medicine in the market. No medicine for cancer patients. If you get bitten by a dog, then there is no medicine for you. They (the market) don’t have any of that.”

Wickremesinghe has been working over a new budget and discussing with international partners to ensure uninterrupted supply of essentials, officials close to him have said. However, it will take time, they say.

Rukshan said the country is running due to the state workers, who are working as they are being paid salaries after the government’s excess money printing.

“When that stops, then there will definitely be a revolution in this country,” he said.

“When a person goes to office in the morning, there is no fuel for the vehicle, or no public transport available. They get late and the salaries are being cut because of that. And when they come home, they don’t have gas to cook a meal.”

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Weerawansa’s wife gets two years for passport offence



Her lawyers file appeal challenging sentence

Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala on Friday sentenced Shashi Weerawansa the wife of former minister Wimal Weerawansa to two years in prison. Shashi was found guilty of using falsified documents to obtain a passport.

The Magistrate also ordered the accused to pay a fine of Rs. 100,000 in addition to the imprisonment and an additional six months of jail if she does not pay the fine.

Sashi Weerawansa is found guilty by the court for obtaining diplomatic and general passports by submitting birth certificates with forged names and dates of birth.

She had applied for a diplomatic passport in 2010 by submitting false personal information which was different to what appears in her previous normal passport that expired on May 24, 2009.

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