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Champika: Pandemic has become beggar’s sore for inefficient govt.

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“The government is citing the COVID-19 as the reason for all its failures today”

 

By Saman Indrajith

Statistical lies would not help the government hide the mega financial crisis, foreign debt and recession in the country, former Minister SJB MP Patali Champika Ranawaka said on Monday evening.

Addressing the media at the SJB Headquarters in Pitakotte, MP Ranawaka said the incumbent government soon before the advent of COVID-19 crisis, had given a neoliberal tax relief to the rich and that had boomeranged. “That tax relief yielded no positive result for the economy.

MP Ranawaka said that the incumbent government had made two main election pledges. One was to ensure national security and the other to usher in development. “Have they been able to fulfil those two promises or are there any signs that they will do so during the remaining time of their term?”

MP Ranawaka said that two main accusations that led to the end of the yahapalana government were the Bond Scams and its failure to prevent Eastern Sunday carnage. “Those allegations had some sort of base and rationale but other accusations such as MCC deal, Dr Shabdeen episode, and allowing Hizbullah to promote Islam extremism were baseless. Now, the President says that he can solve problems of national security but not so the problems pertaining to other crises such as COVID-19. What about the unfulfilled election pledges? What about Arjun Mahendran? They promised to get the former Central Bank Governor extradited to stand trial. One year has passed sine but nothing has been done to deliver those promises. They could not even bring him down but also failed even to land Arjun Aloysius and others in prison. There are reports that Zahran Hashim had the support of two powerful leaders of the incumbent government. Will the government take those politicians into custody? Dr Jayaruwan Bandara said that the government would not be able to control COVID-19 in Colombo city and he was sacked for that. The current crisis cannot be solved with the help of media circuses. There should be a scientific approach to these problems. The government blames the COVID-19 for all its failures. Reserves are fast dwindling. The government is producing contradictory reports and statistics about the economy. So, the Department of Census and Statistics is not able to present figures related to economic development in the second and third quarters of this year. While the Central Bank has predicted a minus 1.7 economic growth for this year, the Finance Ministry has submitted reports to Parliament, claiming a positive economic growth. It’s high time the government learned that these statistical gimmicks would not help solve the burning problems.”



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Businesses can collapse due to electricity tariff increase next year– Patali

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Patali Champika Ranawaka

The Cabinet has approved increase in electricity tariffs in two stages in January and June 2023.

The disclosure was made on Tuesday (29) at a meeting of the Sub Committee on Identifying the Short & Medium-Term Programmes, related to Economic Stabilisation of the National Council.

The government increased power tariffs in August this year.

Parliament announced that although the electricity tariffs had been increased in the recent past, the CEB was still running at a loss.

The representatives of the government and private institutions related to the power sector were called before the Committee to obtain proposals for the purpose of solving the issues in the power sector.

In order to cover the current losses of the CEB, electricity tariffs had to be increased by about 70%, the statement issued by Parliament quoted CEB representatives as having said.

The statement quoted Chairman of the Committee, Patali Champika Ranawaka, as having said that if electricity tariffs were increased to cover CEB’s losses, businesses could collapse as a result.

It was also disclosed that the CEB currently owed nearly 650 billion rupees as outstanding debt to various parties including banks and electricity suppliers. The Electricity Board representative stated that out of the amount to be paid, nearly Rs. 35 billion were to be paid to the organisations that supplied renewable energy, and 75 billion rupees are to be paid to Thermal power suppliers. Thus, it expects to pay at least part of what it owes the suppliers from the 50-billion-rupee loan to be received. (SF)

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PMD claims President’s response misinterpreted

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe denied recent media reports stating that the Provincial Councils will be replaced with the District Development Committees.

Issuing a press release his media division said President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s response in Parliament on Tuesday has been misinterpreted.

Wickremesinghe’s media Division said that in response to a statement by former President Maithripala Sirisena, the President stated that the District Development Committees (DDCs) would be established within the Provincial Councils.

The DDCs would provide a platform for coordination between thegovernment, the Provincial Councils and the Local Government bodies for all executive decisions, the Media Division said.

“This will ensure the process is not duplicated and will reduce financial wastage. Apart from that, the president has not made any statement about the dissolution of provincial councils.”

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Kumudesh: Top bureaucrat demands service extension from Minister’s daughter to approve shady deal

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A senior official of the Ministry of Health has asked the daughter of a Cabinet Minister to help him obtain a service extension in return for approving a controversial tender for medical supplies, President of the College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) Ravi Kumudesh says.

Kumudesh told The Island yesterday that the Minister’s daughter was working for a company that supplied oxygen generators.

“The official told the Minister’s daughter that he would grant the tender to a company of his choice to ensure a comfortable retirement and if her company wanted to secure the contract he should be given an extension in service.”

Kumudesh said the money for the medical equipment was to be paid through the grants from the Global Fund. The World Bank is a major contributor to the Global Fund.

“Officials can grant these tenders to companies of their choice by changing criteria. They make small technical specifications to ensure that only one company qualifies. These officials are a law unto themselves.”

Health Ministry officials were not immediately available for comment.

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