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Japan donates PPE to solid waste management workers

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Governor of the Western Province Roshan Goonetileke (left) at a recent event to receive JICA assistance(pic courtesy Japanese embassy)

Extending Japan’s continuous support to Sri Lanka, helping to protect solid waste management workers, currently engaged in work amidst Covid-19, Chief Representative, JICA Sri Lanka Office Fusato Tanaka, handed over Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Sarath Weerasekera recently, JICA said in a statement.

Governor of the Western Province Roshan Goonetileke, and other officials from both institutions were also present on the occasion. The grant included 17,000 masks, 3,000 gloves, 360 pairs of boots, hand sanitizers, and protective kits to be used to protect more than 500 essential solid waste management workers currently engaged in work under Covid-19.

Over the years, JICA has been extending technical support for solid waste management in Sri Lanka under its Technical Cooperation Projects where Japanese experts and Sri Lankan counterparts work together solving challenges towards the proper management of solid waste in the country.

Currently, under the ‘Project for Formulation of Western Province Solid Waste Management Master Plan’, JICA is supporting the National Solid Waste Management Support Center (NSWMSC), Waste Management Authority, Western Province, relevant government agencies and local authorities, to formulate a long-term strategic plan for solid waste management in the Western Province.

The Project also helps capacity development of relevant authorities under emergency situations such as Covid-19. Hence, in response to the spread of Covid-19, a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for the Western Province has also been added to the scope of the Master Plan. This will enable local authorities in Sri Lanka to continue their essential work under any emergency situation such as the present pandemic.

At the handing over ceremony, Fusato Tanaka has stated that solid waste management is essential work for the community. Therefore, it is vital to pay attention towards their personal hygiene as well as assist them in maintaining a healthy work environment to protect themselves and the entire community. He further emphasized that catastrophic situation such as the present pandemic heightens the need for cooperation among countries to face them successfully and Japan has always been willing to extend a helping hand to Sri Lanka.



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UNDP: Rs 600 bn tax cut a huge mistake

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Director of the Sustainable Finance Hub of the UNDP Marcos Neto has called the decision to do away with a range of taxes here a fundamental mistake committed by Sri Lanka.The comment was made at the Parliament complex during an interactive dialogue on ‘Revenue Generation as a Pathway to Sri Lanka’s Economic Recovery’ on Tuesday (09). It was organised on a request by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, former Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The Opposition as well as several other parties alleged that the government had lost as much as Rs 600 bn due to the controversial decision to do away with a range of taxes including PAYE, NBT (Nation Building Tax), Withholding tax, Capital Gain tax imposed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, Bank Debit tax and unprecedented reduction of VAT (Value Added Tax). The 15% VAT and the 2% NBT which amounted to 17% imposed on all goods and services were unified and reduced to 8%, effective from the first of December 2019.

The decision was taken at the first Cabinet meeting of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government on 27 Nov. 2019.Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe is on record as having said that the powers that be ignored the IMF warning not to do so and also the immediate need to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt (SF)

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Debate on power tariff hike on 29 Aug.

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Party leaders have decided to debate the electricity tariff hikes in parliament on 29 August.The date was fixed for the debate following a request by the main opposition SJB.The debate will be held from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm on 29 August.

Chief Opposition Whip Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella told Parliament on Wednesday (10) that as per the proposed tariff hike the monthly electricity bill of domestic consumers would increase by 75 percent to 125 percent. “This is unbearable. This is like sending the people to an electric chair while they are struggling to make ends meet amidst a massive increase in cost of living.

How does this government expect people would be able to pay such an exorbitant price for electricity? We demand a debate in parliament before this proposed tariff hike is implemented,” Kiriella said.

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British national to be deported

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Department of Immigration and Emigration has ordered Kayleigh Fraser, a British national whose passport has been taken into custody after she posted on social media anti-government protests, for violating her visa conditions, to leave the country by 15 August. The Department has already cancelled her visa.

Earlier this month Immigration and Emigration officials visited Fraser at her home and took her passport into custody. The Department said Fraser had been in Sri Lanka for medical reasons since 2019. She had returned home several times, it said.

The Immigration and Emigration officers told her to visit them within the next seven days.Fraser on 02 August said that a group of immigration officers had visited her and asked for her travel document. She said that officials told her that they would return her passport when she visited the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

Fraser added that she had received an anonymous call asking her to leave Sri Lanka as soon as possible before facing ‘big problems.’ Immigration officials visited her house a few days after the call.

Fraser has shared a number of photographs and videos from the ‘Gota Go Gama’ site. Human Rights groups and activists have accused the Sri Lankan government of using Emergency regulations to harass and arbitrarily detain activists seeking political reform and accountability for the country’s economic crisis.

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