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Order to curtail government expenditure sinister ploy to disrupt LG poll – IRES

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BY PRIYAN DE SILVA

The Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Reforms and Electoral Studies (IRES), Manjula Gajanayake, said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s order, made on Tuesday (31), as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies, to further curtail government expenditure together with a warning to public officials that they would be personally held responsible for whatever goods and services they obtain on credit basis was a sinister ploy to disrupt the Election Commission’s preparations for the March 9 local government poll.

The President has, in a press release, stated that the General Treasury has informed him that it finds it challenging to meet all expenditure at this moment except for payment of salaries, pensions, welfare, pharmaceuticals and debt servicing.

Gajanayake said that on the same day it was reported that State Minister for Media, Shantha Bandara had stated that the Election Commission (EC) owed a sum of Rs.18 million to the Government Printing Department and that the Printing Department had requested for an advance of Rs. 100 million from the EC for the printing of ballot papers and other activities related to the upcoming Local Government poll.

Chairman of the Election Commission Nimal Punchihewa said that at a time members of the EC were threatened with death, and top government officials were spreading misinformation and acting in contravention to election laws and regulations, he had, on Saturday (28), asked for the President’s support to conduct the local government elections on schedule.

Punchihewa told The Island that it had been the normal practice for the EC to obtain goods and services on credit basis and would continue to do so. He said that the President’s press release had created some doubt among private sector suppliers, and service providers, but assured that the present EC would settle all its debts when payment was due.

He also confirmed that the EC had settled the R. 18 million due to the Government Printing Department, on Tuesday (31).



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“Operation ‘Yukthiya’ will persist despite pressure” – Minister of Public Security

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Minister of Public Security, Mr. Tiran Alles, attending a news conference held at the Presidential Media Centre today (21) under the theme ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country’.emphasized his unwavering commitment to continue operations aimed at suppressing drugs, tackling the underworld and preventing violence against women and children, regardless of any pressure encountered.

Furthermore, Minister Alles disclosed that operation ‘Yukthiya’, which commenced on December 17, has resulted in the seizure of narcotics valued at Rs. 7.8 billion and assets including vehicles and buildings confiscated by law enforcement amount to Rs. 725 million. . A total of 58,562 raids have been conducted, leading to the arrest of 58,234 individuals involved in illicit activities.

 

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SLNS Samudura leaves for Maldives to take part in Exercise Dosti – XVI

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Sri Lanka Naval Ship (SLNS) Samudura left for the Maldives from the port of Colombo on Tuesday (20)  to take part in Exercise Dosti – XVI. The trilateral exercise ‘Dosti’ is scheduled to be held in Male from 22nd to 25th February.

The trilateral exercise ‘Dosti’ aims to enhance cooperation, strengthen friendship, improve mutual operational capability, and develop interoperability among the Coast Guard personnel of India, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

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“Sri Lankan unity paves the way for rapid national development” – President

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Sri Lanka’s Chief Scout, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his address at the 10th National Scout Jamboree held at the Koneswara Hindu Vidyalaya Stadium in Trincomalee this morning (21), underscored the potential of Sri Lankans to steer the nation towards rapid development and fortify its security for future generations through unified efforts.

The President highlighted that participation in the National Scout Jamboree transcends divisions of caste and religion. He articulated that unity among Sri Lankans, spanning from the North to the South and from Colombo to Trincomalee, is pivotal in accomplishing shared objectives.

President Wickremesinghe pledged his support for the expansion of the Scout Association, noting its role in nurturing responsible citizens essential for the country. Furthermore, he announced the plans to facilitate collaboration between the Scout Association and the Ministry of Technology, underscoring the importance of leveraging interactions across sectors for national development.

(PMD)

 

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