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Cost of living will be reduced by adhering to policy decisions already made: President

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President Gotabaya Rajapaksa emphasized that appropriate measures will be taken to reduce the cost of living by implementing the decisions already taken while adhering to a consistent policy without moving backwards.

Prices of several consumer goods, including turmeric, have risen due to decisions taken to uplift local agricultural industry and the farming community. President Rajapaksa pointed out that if turmeric and other commodities are imported to control or bring prices down, the desired objective will never be achieved.

The President says that even though public faced difficulties for a short period of time, measures that are taken to strengthen the rural economy and uplift the farming community cannot be reversed.

The President made these remarks at the first Cabinet Sub Committee meeting on Cost of Living held at the Presidential Secretariat last week.

During the meeting, it was discussed in detail regarding the impact of the rise in prices of several essential commodities on the economy of the urban middle class.

“In order to earn a stable and strong income for the rural farmers who make up about 40% of the population, we need to develop confidence that they would get a high price for their produce and assure a stable market for them”, the President said.

The President highlighted the need for proper procedures to address the issues faced by the middle class in the suburbs due to inflation. Following the COVID 19 pandemic, the government took steps to deliver the farm produce directly to the consumers at a subsidized price.

He noted that continuing this practice would remove the middlemen and their exploitation and protect both the farmer and the consumer.

“Promoting the economic condition of the people in remote areas and reducing the cost of living burden of the people in the suburbs should be addressed simultaneously” he stressed. (LBO)



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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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