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JVP: Expat Lankans will stop remittances unless govt. solves their problems

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By Saman Indrajith

The JVP-led Sri Lankan expatriate association, Ethera Api, yesterday warned that the Sri Lankan migrant workers were poised to decide whether they would continue to send their earnings home or not if the government continued to ignore their grievances.

JVP Politburo member and Chairman of the Ethera Api Sunil Handunnetti told the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte that the government had withdrawn most of its employees in high commissions, embassies, etc., in foreign countries due to the pandemic outbreak and there were no lobour or welfare officers in those offices to attend to grievances of Lankans living abroad. “The government goes begging for dollars world over but has no concern about the migrant workers who send home around 7,000 million US dollars a year. Even amidst pandemic, the migrant workers have sent home 3,324 million US dollars during the first six months of this year. On average, they send home around 550 million a month. Yet the government has no concern for their issues. The government has no mechanism to look after the family members and children of those migrant workers. There are many migrant workers who cannot obtain vaccines because they do not have documents. The government should have put in place a mechanism via the diplomatic missions abroad to provide an opportunity for the Lankans living there to obtain vaccines. They are fed up calling for the attention of the government. They will soon make a decision whether they would continue to send money to this country in future,” Handunnetti said.

Ethera Api Treasurer Attorney-at-Law Janaka Adhikari said that the diplomatic missions abroad had failed to provide for many Lankans stranded in foreign countries due to the pandemic. An official of the Foreign Employment Bureau says that they spent between Rs 13 and 15 million to provide food for Lankans who lost their jobs abroad. We demand to know details of the countries and number of migrant workers supported in that manner.”



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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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