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Fin Min, delegation meet with top US State Dept, IMF officials

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Minister of Finance Ali Sabry and his delegation held crucial meetings with the top officials of the U.S. Department of State and USAID as well as top officials of the International Monetary Fund including its Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in Washington, DC Wednesday.

A meeting was convened for high level engagement with the Minister of Finance M.U.M. Ali Sabry P.C. and the U.S. Department of State experts Donald Lu, Assistant Secretary – Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs and John McDaniel, Chief of the Economic Unit of the U.S. Department of State along with the experts of USAID Deputy Assistant Administrator Anjali Kaur, and Sanjay R. Iyer, the International Cooperation Specialist at the residence of the Ambassador of Sri Lanka for U.S. Mahinda Samarasinghe.

The successful discussion had focused on a variety of options and solutions for strategic economic development for short term and midterm challenges.

Finance Minister Sabry and the Governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe discussed overcoming the ongoing economic challenges in Sri Lanka with the U.S. officials.

The Finance Minister has received the assurance of the valuable support from the esteemed institutions to strengthen the economy of Sri Lanka, the Finance Ministry said.

Assistant Secretary Lu said U.S. welcomes Sri Lanka and IMF working towards a sustainable solution to relieve the economic hardships for its people.

The Assistant Secretary has said the United States is committed to supporting Sri Lanka’s efforts to stabilize its economy and set the country on a path toward a sustainable and prosperous future for all Sri Lankans.

The Minister of Finance Ali Sabry and Governor of Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe also held a meeting with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at the IMF on the 20th of April 2022.

The key highlights of the discussion had premised upon the Policy actions required to be taken to address the economic challenges of Sri Lanka.

The Managing Director has assured her sincere commitment to work together towards mapping a pathway to assist the economic recovery for Sri Lanka.

“Thank you Minister Ali Sabry and Governor Weerasinghe for being with us in person at the Spring IMF Meetings during these difficult times. We discussed policy actions to address economic challenges and undertook to work together towards mapping a pathway to Sri Lanka’s recovery,” Georgieva tweeted after the meeting.

Minister Sabry and Central Bank Governor Dr. Weerasinghe also met with the IMF First Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath on Wednesday at the IMF headquarters in Washington, DC.

The discussion between the distinguished delegates focused on the challenges faced by Sri Lanka and the mechanisms and measures required to address the economic challenges expeditiously, the Finance Ministry said.



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BASL urges President to de-escalate tensions in different parts of country

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The Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to instruct the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of tensions in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by the public.”

 “Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint”, the BASL has said in a media statement.

 “We also call upon you to ensure that steps are taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.”

The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police.

 The armed forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

Full text of the BASL letter to the President:

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) expresses its gravest concerns at the current situation at fuel stations throughout the country and the reports of several incidents of conflicts between civilians and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations. There has been video footage of civilians being assaulted by personnel of the armed forces and the police, the latest being of a civilian being kicked by an Army officer at a fuel station. There have also been situations of the police and Army opening fire into the air to contain the crowd.

Your Excellency is no doubt aware that thousands of desperate civilians are waiting in queues at hundreds of fuel stations in the country. The queues are kilometres long. The tension at the fuel stations have arisen from this desperation for which there is no immediate solution in sight.

The BASL wishes to warn Your Excellency of the imminent dangers this situation could give rise to. The present unrest could result in a conflagration between civilians and members of the armed forces or the police. Some years ago, confrontations between members of the public and the armed forces resulted in the deaths of civilians. Such incidents between the members of the armed forces or the police and the civilians will discredit Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the police.

We call upon Your Excellency to take all necessary steps to give instructions to the Defence Secretary, the Commanders of the Tri Forces and the Inspector General of Police to ensure that there is an immediate de-escalation of the situation in different parts of the country – especially at fuel stations – understanding the difficulties faced by public. Whilst keeping in mind that the police and armed forces are acting under very trying circumstances, nevertheless it is necessary to give strict instructions to the police and the forces to desist from violence in dealing with the public and to act with utmost restraint. We also call upon you to ensure that steps be taken under the law to deal with errant officers who have subjected civilians to such violence.

The Sri Lanka Army and other service personnel must be deployed only in very limited circumstances as contemplated in the Criminal Procedure Code. The BASL is of the view that it is not appropriate for service personnel to be deployed in the present manner in matters which essentially should be managed by the Sri Lanka Police. The Armed Forces should also not be used to disturb or hinder peaceful protests as was seen last week in Galle.

We trust that this will receive the immediate attention of the Government as to do otherwise may otherwise result in unprecedented turmoil and harm.

The BASL believes that the ultimate solution to the situation at fuel stations is to be transparent with the public and to ensure an equitable and effective system of fuel distribution throughout the country.

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SC orders AG to submit report on fuel purchases and distribution

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By A.J.A. Abeynayake

A three-member Supreme Court bench consisting of Justices Vijith Malalgoda, Mahinda Samayawardena and Arjuna Obeysekera yesterday ordered the Attorney General to submit a report on fuel purchases, the distribution thereof and the sectors to be provided with fuel on a priority basis.

The Supreme Court made the order after considering two fundamental rights petitions presented by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

The BASL has requested the Supreme Court to direct the Cabinet of Ministers to consult all stakeholders and independent experts to formulate and implement the necessary policies, and to provide concessions in relation to the prices of essential goods and services to the people including LP gas, fuel, electricity, milk powder, medicines and food.

The petitions were filed by the President of the BASL Saliya Pieris PC, Deputy President Anura Meddegoda PC, former Secretary Rajeev Amarasuriya, Treasurer Rajindh Perera and the Assistant Secretary Pasindu Silva.

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A/L may be delayed by one month

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Education Minister Sushil Premajayantha told Parliament yesterday that although it had been scheduled to hold the G.C.E. A/L Examination 2022 in November this year, it could be further delayed by another month.

Responding to a question by MP Shantha Bandara, the Minister said: “The examination should be held at least after three months of releasing the results of the previous A/L exam because the students who need to sit it again should have enough time to prepare,” the Minister said.

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