Classes for OL students in WP commence today; exam in March
Covid-19: Re-opening of schools to be taken at district-level
By Shamindra Ferdinando
The District Development Committees (DDC) have been asked to decide on re-opening of schools and related matters following consultations with the relevant authorities as the decisions taken by the Education Ministry seemed impractical due to the varying impact of the rampaging pandemic across the country.
The Education Ministry, in a statement issued yesterday (24) said that the decision to entrust the DDCs with the authority to decide on re-opening of schools had been taken at a meeting chaired by Education Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris a few days before the Minister had to self-isolate after he was categorized as a possible Covid-19 contact. Prof. Peiris was cleared on Saturday (23) following a RT-PCR test.
The Education Ministry has requested that the DDCs, in consultations with Divisional Secretaries and other relevant authorities, take a decision before Feb. 3. The DDCs would have to inform the Education Ministry of their decisions, accordingly.
The statement quoted Prof. Peiris as having said that schools in the Western Province, except those situated in areas isolated due to Covid-19 would be re-opened today (25).
However, the classes would be restricted to those sitting the GCE (Ordinary Level) examination in March 2021, the Minister said.
The examination is scheduled to be held from March 1 to 11.
Prof. Peiris said that the Education Ministry decided on the partial re-opening of schools in the Western Province comprising Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts for the benefit of those sitting the GCE (O/L) examination.
According to Prof. Peiris approximately 79,000 are scheduled to sit the examination.
The Minister said that in spite of some difficulties schools functioned in all districts outside the Western Province.
Prof. Peiris said that of 1,576 schools about 900 could be re-opened by Feb 15 and the other students, too, allowed to attend classes, gradually.
Prof. Peiris told The Island that schools couldn’t be closed indefinitely though the Covid-19 posed quite a challenge not only to the education sector but the entire economy. The academic urged interested parties not to play politics with their efforts to resume schooling. Responding to another query, Prof. Peiris recollected the trying conditions the Year 5 Scholarship Examination as well as the GCE (Advanced Level) Examination had been conducted late last year amidst the second Covid-19 eruption while interested parties propagated scare stories. “A couple of hundred courageous students sat the AL examination in spite of them being quarantined,” Prof. Peiris said, emphasizing the importance of resuming schools under strict health guidelines.
The minister said that setbacks couldn’t be allowed to derail government efforts to get the economic activities back on track.
State Minister of Women and Child Development, Pre-School & Primary Education, School Infrastructure & Education Services Piyal Nishantha tested positive for the coronavirus last week.
Lanka to lend US$2.5bn to US and top-rated borrowers in 2023 under IMF deal: analysis
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is projected to lend 2,533 million US dollars mainly to the US and Euro areas during an International Monetary Fund deal in 2023 including a mandatory 1.4 billion US dollars collected from exports and remittances, according to official documents.
Sri Lanka is expected to get two tranches of 331.2 million dollar (254 million special drawing rights each) in March and September 2023 from the IMF.In 2023 Sri Lanka has to repay 256.4 million dollars from an earlier IMF loan taken during an earlier currency crisis.
Net inflows from the IMF would be 406.12 million US dollars in 2023 if the first review is completed in September 2023.Sri Lanka has committed to collect at least 1.4 billion US dollars from remittances and exports and lend to the US and other developed nations during 2023 under the IMF deal.
A large volume has already been collected. An ad hoc peg is now operated under the IMF deal to buy dollars and export to the West, as ‘below-the-line outflows. Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves are usually loaned to highly rated sovereign or sovereign linked borrowers, mainly in the US.
But there have been amounts of Euro assets in Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves at times, triggering forex losses when the dollar to Euro parity changed.Under the IMF program there is a performance criterion to increase net international reserves by 1,948 million dollars during 2023.
Sri Lanka is also expected to repay a 200 million US dollar swap to Bangladesh during 2023, which will also raise the NIR.At the moment Sri Lanka’s central bank is in debt after borrowing from India, Bangladesh, India including on Asian Clearing Union dues as well as the IMF. Year end net international reserves would still be negative.
Sri Lanka’s gross reserves are expected to rise by 2.5 billion US dollars to 4.4 billion US dollars in 2023 indicating that the country will lend 2.5 billion US dollars to the US and other highly rated borrowers. It may include re-invested interest coupons.
Sri Lanka is also expected to get 650 million dollars from the Asian Development Bank and 250 million dollars from the World Bank as part of partner support for the IMF deal. Outside of core monetary reserves linked to reserve money, balances in Treasury accounts are also counted as forex reserves.
BASL writes to IGP over protest against Saliya Peiris
The BAR Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has condemned a protest staged outside the Law of Chamber of BASL President Saliya Pieris, PC on Friday.The protest was staged against the representation of Saliya Pieris, PC for notorious Sri Lankan drug kingpin Nadun Chinthaka alias “Harak Kata”.
Condemning the protest, BASL said in a statement that Saliya Pieris, PC was only conducting his professional duties with regard to a particular client.
“We are of the view the said protest seriously hinders his right to represent a client, a professional right which has been safeguarded by law,” it pointed out.
The BASL called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to take action to ensure that Saliya Peiris’s professional duties as an Attorney-at-law, are not hindered and to ensure his safety.
Full text of the letter: ” We write with reference to an organized protest outside the chamber of Mr Saliya Pieris, President of the \Bar Association of Sri Lanka.
We have been made aware the said protest relates to Mr. Pieris conducting his professional duties with regard to a particular client. We are of the view the said protest seriously hinders his right to represent a client, a professional right which has been safeguarded by law.In the case of Wijesundara Mudiyanselage Naveen Nayantha Bandara Wijesundara v Sirwardena and Others (SCFR 13/2019), the Supreme Court observed that:
“The first piece of legislation passed by the Parliament soon after the promulgation of the 1978 Constitution was the Judicature Act No. 02 of 1978. As the administration of justice in any civilized society cannot be effectively implemented without lawyers, the legislature in its wisdom, through the Judicature Act, established the legal profession.
Thus, there is no dispute that the legal profession is a sine qua non for the due administration of justice in this country and for that matter in any civilized society. The said profession is essential for the maintenance of the Rule of Law and maintenance of law and order and its due existence is of paramount importance to the organized functioning of the society which is primarily the basis for the smooth functioning of the country as a whole.”
Further, Section 41 of the Judicature Act which has clearly set out the right of representation, and, has further shed light on the above mechanism established for implementing the administration of justice in the country.
It is as follows; Section 41 of the Judicature Act (Right of Representation)
(1) Every attorney-at-law shall be entitled to assist and advise clients and to appear, plead or act in every court or other institution established by law for the administration of justice and every person who is a party to or has or claims to have the right to be heard in any proceeding in any such court or other such institution shall be entitled to be represented by an attorney-at-law.
(2) Every person who is a party to any proceeding before any person or tribunal exercising quasi-judicial powers and every person who has or claims to have the right to be heard before any such person or tribunal shall unless otherwise”
Therefore, we strongly demand that you take action to ensure that Mr. Peiris’s professional duties as an Attorney-at-law, are not hindered and to ensure his safety.”
State need not do business, says Ranil, seven SOEs to be divested
ECONOMYNEXT – The State need not engage in business as its mandate is to provide services such as education and maintain law and order, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said Thursday defending plans to divest government-held shares of seven state owned enterprises (SOEs).
At a discussion at the presidential secretariat on Thursday morning, Wickremesinghe responding to a question about the decision said that Sri Lanka must no longer hold on to corporations and enterprises owned by the government.
Sri Lanka has been spending more on the state-run Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) than it has on education, he said.The following seven SOEs will undergo the divestment of state-held shares: Sri Lankan Airlines Ltd including Sri Lankan Catering Ltd, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd,
Canwill Holdings Pvt. Ltd., (Grand Hyatt Hotel), Hotel Developers Lanka Ltd., (Hilton Hotel Colombo), Litro Gas Lanka Ltd., including Litro Gas Terminals (Pvt) Ltd., (LPG retailing), and Lanka Hospital Corporation PLC
The State Owned Enterprises Restructuring Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies will oversee the process, a statement said.
“Not all of them are loss making. But we do have to repay debt. You can’t keep these and pay back loans.
“If we can’t pay off our loans, we might have to sell something in the house and pay it,” said Wickremesnghe.
Asked why Sri Lanka should sell SOEs that aren’t making losses, he responded: “Why is the state engaged in business? That’s not our mandate. The state has no business engaging in business.”
“In what country is there a law that these (businesses) should be (held by the state)?” he added.
Noting that the crisis-hit nation is trying to embark on a path of recovery and rapid development, the president said Sri Lanka must follow India’s example.
“India is selling their airports, profit making ones. India has come to that stage. We have to go there too.”
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