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Emergency debate on Monday

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by Saman Indrajith

Parliament meets tomorrow (6) to debate the Proclamation of the Emergency regulations by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Leader of the House, Education Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said.

Gunawardena said that Parliament will meet only for two days, Monday and Tuesday in accordance with a decision made at the last party leaders’ meeting held on Thursday.

He said that the sessions were originally scheduled to be held on all five weekdays next week with Monday (06) being allocated for the government to respond to long pending and unanswered questions raised by the Opposition.

Although Sept 6 was originally allocated as a special Parliament day to respond to questions earlier, a decision was taken to debate the emergency law imposed to maintain supplies of essential foods because once an emergency law is declared, it has to be approved by the Parliament within 14 days.

President Rajapaksa enacted these emergency regulations for the provision of essential food iin accordance with the powers vested in him under Section 2 of the Public Security Ordinance.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that the House will meet against on Tuesday (7) 10.00 a.m. Time has been allotted in taking up Questions for oral Answers from 10.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.

Accordingly, from 11.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. an Order under the Essential Public Services Act No. 61 of 1979, Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka Bill, Finance Bill, Order under Excise (Special Provisions) Act, three Regulations under the Import and Export (Control) Act have also been scheduled to be taken up for debate.

Time has also been allotted from 4.30 p.m. to 4.50 p.m. for Questions at Adjournment and the Adjournment Motion by the Government will be from 4.50 p.m. to 5.30 p.m, Dassanayake said.



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Central Bank urged to save collapsing local industries

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The National Freedom Front (NFF) has requested the immediate intervention of the Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal to save micro, small and medium scale industries badly affected by the current economic downturn caused by the Covid-19.

The NFF parliamentary group comprises six members, including one National List.

Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa, on behalf of the SLPP constituent parties, has warned of steep increase in unemployment, drop in the contribution made by small and medium scale industries to the national economy and the further widening of the gap between the rich and poor.

Party sources told The Island that the NFF had decided to take up the urgent matter because, in spite of repeated promises, those who had been severely affected were yet to receive assistance. Minister Weerawansa has urged the Central Bank to restructure loans obtained by affected industries and also extend the moratorium.

Weerawansa has in a letter dated Oct.18, told Cabraal that according to a survey conducted by the Industrial Development Board, micro, small and medium enterprises suffered serious setbacks. However, of the loans made available through the banking sector, a substantial segment had been disbursed among major players, the Minister said, while pointing out that in other countries in the region more than 50 percent of total loans were made available to micro, small and medium industries.

Unfortunately, here in Sri Lanka they received approximately 15 percent of the total given as loans, the minister said.

Minister Weerawansa said that though industries suffered, almost all state and private banks had recorded much improved performances with significant profits.

The Minister said that following his intervention with the cabinet of ministers, the government agreed on a plan of action to deal with the situation. It would be the responsibility of the Central Bank to implement the agreed proposals, he said.

(SF)

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So far no side effects among Pfizer vaccinated 15,000 A/L students

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

Over 15,000 GCE AL students had been vaccinated with Pfizer and there had not been any side effects, Colombo District Director of Health Dr. Dilip Liyanage told the media yesterday.

He said that the Ministry of Education had given them a list of 20,688 that needed to be vaccinated.

“We would like to assure parents that there is no need to worry. Over 15,000 children have been vaccinated and there have been no problems so far. Trust the health professionals and vaccinate your child at the first opportunity you get,” he said.

Dr. Liyanage added that children who missed their chance to get vaccinated on weekdays, can get vaccinated at the MOH office near their home.

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Govt. approves prohibition of cattle slaughter

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The government has approved the prohibition of cattle slaughter. The decision was announced at the weekly Cabinet meeting at the Information Department yesterday (19). The government said the relevant laws and regulations, including those passed by Local Government authorities would be amended for that purpse.

The Legal Draftsman has drafted Bills to amend the following acts and ordinances.

• Authority 272 of the Cattle Slaughter Ordinance No. 9 of 1893

• Act No. 29 of 1958 Concerning Animals

• Municipal Councils Ordinance – Section 252

• Section 255 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance

• Ordinance No. 15 of the Urban Council Act of 1987

The Attorney General has certified that the said Bills do not clash with the provisions of the Constitution.

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