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Number of questions MPs could raise reduced from 15 to 10

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By Saman Indrajith

The party leaders, who met yesterday, had agreed to decrease the number of questions the MPs could raise in the House during the question sessions from 15 to 10, Parliament sources said.

They said the agreement had been reached in view of the time spent on question session during a normal sitting day.

Usually 15 questions are allowed for a day and one hour is allotted from the sitting time before the commencement of business of Parliament. However, there have been occasions in the recent past when the questions session dragged till lunch time as many MPs raised points of order demanding explanations. Following the commencement of Parliament today at 10 am, time will be allotted for the oral questions of the MPs until 11 am.

The party leaders meeting chaired by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena was held yesterday at the parliamentary complex.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that the regulation issued by the Minister of Labour, under an Extraordinary Gazette which was presented to Parliament on January 21, under the Employees Provident Fund Act would be taken up for debate today (09). The debate was scheduled to commence at 11.00 am and to continue until 04.30 pm. The adjournment motion moved by the ruling party was scheduled to be taken up for debate from 04.30 pm to 5.30 pm, Dasanayake said.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa would answer the questions raised by MPs on Wednesday, (10) from 10 am to 10.30 am. Thereafter, from 10.30 am to 11 am, time has been allotted for question time of the MPs.

On Wednesday regulations imposed under the Gem and Jewellery Act were scheduled be taken up for debate, which would be held from 11 am to 4.30 pm. After that the adjournment motion moved by the Opposition it would be taken up for debate, Parliament sources said.

Sources said that three regulations under the Imports and Exports (Control) Act would be taken up for debate on Thursday (11). On the same day, from 10 am to 11 am, time would be allotted for the oral questions of the Members of Parliament and the adjournment motion moved by the Government would be taken up for debate from 04.30 pm to 5.30 pm.

Votes of Condolence on the late MPs Surangani Ellawala, K.P Silva and Kapila Abeyratne are scheduled to be presented in Parliament on Friday (12). The sitting would be held from 10 am to 4.30 pm on that day and no time would be allotted for the questions of the MPs, sources said.



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President requests the opposition to support the implementation of the IMF agreement

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe urged the Opposition to unite and disregard political differences to assist in carrying out the IMF agreement, which would aid in the development of Sri Lanka’s economy.

The President emphasized that his duty is not to condemn previous administrations but to concentrate on the development of the country. He also declared his dedication to constructing a better future by creating laws and frameworks that prevent the recurrence of past errors.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered this message in a special address to Parliament this morning (22) regarding the receipt of the Extended Credit Facility from the International Monetary Fund.

He stated that despite allegations being leveled against him that his objective was not to rescue the country from an economic crisis but to safeguard the Rajapaksa family, the international community had acknowledged his efforts to carry the country across the economic vine bridge.

The President further said that he had faith in rebuilding the beloved country where he was born, brought up and educated, and said that many past experiences were the reasons for confirming that faith.

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SJB, JVP move SC against Finance Secy. for contempt of court

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The main Opposition, Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) yesterday (21) moved Supreme Court against Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana over his failure to provide funds required by the Election Commission to conduct the Local Government polls, ignoring an interim order issued by the apex court, on 03 March.

Ranjith Madduma Bandara, MP, is the petitioner for the SJB and Vijitha Herath, MP, moved court on behalf of the JVP, the leading party in the Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB).

Two Opposition parties declared action against Siriwardana the day after the Freedom People’s Alliance (FPA) issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Finance Secretary to release the funds.

EC Chairman Nimal Punchihewa is on record as having said that in spite of SC directive he didn’t receive fresh funding.

The petitioners sought the issuance of summons on Siriwardana for contempt of court over failure to carry out its interim orders, given on 03 March.

The petitioners want the Finance Secretary punished in terms of Article 105 (3) of the Constitution.

The SJB stated that Siriwardana had refrained from carrying out the March directives, on the basis of a Cabinet decision, taken on 13 Feb., 2023. The SJB also pointed out that the offensive conduct of the Treasury Secretary, inter alia, causes grave prejudice to the esteemed authority of the Supreme Court and in turn disturb the public confidence in the authority of the highest Court in the country. (SF)

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Minister indicates reduction in fuel prices in April

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Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara told Parliament yesterday that fuel prices would be reduced considerably according to the fuel price formula at the next fuel price revision, due in April.

The Minister said that the government would be able to procure fuel shipments, at lower prices, during competitive bidding, with the receipt of the IMF bailout.

There had been practical issues, and problems, in opening Letters of Credit, and obtaining credit facilities, in the recent past, as Sri Lanka could not give a guarantee to fuel suppliers, Minister Wijesekara said.

“We could not open LCs and obtain credit facilities when procuring fuel. After the IMF bailout, we will be able to procure fuel at lower prices during competitive biddings. We will be able to obtain a long-term credit facility as well. Fuel prices in the global market seem to have declined and the rupee has also gained strength against the US Dollar. Having considered all these factors, fuel prices will be reduced by a considerable margin which could be felt by the people,” he said.

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