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Polls monitors, journalists’ outfit among recipients of Canadian funding 

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Sri Lanka Press Institute and two election monitoring groups are among nine Sri Lanka and Maldives based organizations provided with funds from Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI)

The Canadian HC in Colombo maintained that following a highly competitive process, the following recipients were chosen:

*  Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services, Maldives,

* People’s Action for Free & Fair Elections (PAFFREL),

*  Environment Foundation Limited (EFL),

* Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV),

*  Planeterra,

* Center for Investigative Reporting Sri Lanka (CIR),

*  Sri Lanka Press Institute (SLPI),

*  Northern Cooperative Development Bank (NCDB), and

*  Zero Waste Maldives.

The CFLI supports small-scale, high-impact projects conceived and designed predominantly by local partners in Sri Lanka and Maldives. This enables Canada to respond to local needs by working at the community level. Equally important, the CFLI serves to strengthen Canada’s relationships with civil society and local communities.

This year, the CFLI’s call for proposal focused on key thematic areas: Inclusive governance, Environment and climate action and Growth that works for everyone, including women’s economic rights.

Given the current pandemic, the CFLI program was also able to respond to Covid-19 related proposals, including a contribution of $100,000CAD in support of the Maldives Government’s efforts in providing basic services to the homeless and the most vulnerable communities impacted by Covid-19 in Malé.

In Sri Lanka, the CFLI has already supported CMEV and PAFFREL’s contribution towards ensuring a creditable parliamentary election — free of violence and with the distribution of PPE to voters and observers at selected voting locations.

From pandemic response, to election monitoring, to women’s economic empowerment and climate action, we stand proud to work together with Sri Lankans and Maldivians to find solutions to issues that matter to them. 



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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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