Connect with us

News

Port City Bill: PM predicts USD 15 bn in investments within five years

Published

on

By Saman Indrajith

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday told Parliament that the majority of members and the Chairman of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission would be Sri Lankans.

The amendments would be incorporated into the bill in line with public proposals and the recommendations of the Supreme Court at the committee stage of the debate, the Premier said, adding that some of those amendments would be on the basis of changes proposed by other political parties.

Moving the bill for the debate, the Prime Minister said: “It was on Sept 17, 2014 the foundation stone was laid for the Colombo Port City during my tenure as the President by President of People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping. That mega project now has added 268 hectares to the landmass of our country. It was added to the Colombo District by the former government. Today, we are at the doorstep of a massive number of opportunities to make use of that landmass for the development of our motherland. To achieve such objectives it is a must that we should introduce changes for the existing legal and financial frameworks to change their parameters so that there would be a flow of investments to the country via the Port City. It is incumbent on any government to make such adjustments. Through this bill being debated here today, we hope to introduce such changes. If we make such adjustments properly this country would attract around 15 billion US dollars’ worth of  investments during the next five years, as predicted by economists both local and foreign. As per the estimates of those economists, during the first five years the project would generate around 200,000 job opportunities for the construction phase and around 83,000 other permanent jobs. The commission to be set up to manage the port city would serve as a single window service provider for the foreign investors coming to invest in the Port City. We plan to provide them with all required services and facilities so that the benefits of their investments may flow into the country.”

SJB Colombo District MP Dr Harsha de Silva: We are not against the Port City project. We too understand that we as a nation are on the verge of a quantum leap to development. We are a nation trapped in a middle-income earning status trap. We cannot move neither forward nor backward.

We must convert this country into a nation of people who draw high salaries by creating complex and sophisticated goods and services. For that purpose we must join the rest of the world.

Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva: There are huge differences in content between the speeches made by opposition MP Dr Harsha de Silva and his other colleagues in the opposition. Dr De Silva stated clear and loud that this bill was progressive and they would not oppose it. Others in the opposition state that the Supreme Court had bludgeoned the draft bill.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

News

Booster shots: Poor public response makes GMOA contemplate legal remedy

Published

on

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Lack of enthusiasm among the public to receive the booster dose was disconcerting, given that Sri Lanka had a long-established and highly functional immunisation programme, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) said yesterday.

By 20 January 2022, 64.56% of Sri Lankans had been fully vaccinated, but only 22.47% had received the booster dose, the GMOA said.

“At the early stages of vaccination against Covid-19 the public response was favourable. However, the current waning of interest might be driven by the myths and rumours regarding the vaccines. It is important to take measures to counter such misinformation by raising public awareness of the ongoing vaccination programme.”

“Legal action against those responsible for the spread of communicable diseases can be taken under the Penal Code”, GMOA Secretary Dr. Senal Fernando said. “Provisions of the Quarantine Ordinance can be used against persons who do not comply with directions given by the proper authorities under the Quarantine Ordinance,” he said.

The GMOA said that several countries had made it mandatory to have proof of vaccination for entry into public places. The same thing could be done in Sri Lanka to ensure that more people got vaccinated.

Continue Reading

News

Govt., SJB haggle over procedure to rescue country

Published

on

By Saman Indrajith

The SJB on Sunday said that it was wrong for the President and the government to seek the assistance of the Opposition to steer the country out of the present crises without creating a proper forum to obtain such assistance.

Addressing the media at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo, Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District MP Lakshman Kiriella said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa delivering the latter’s third Policy Speech in Parliament last week had sought the assistance of the Opposition. “His speech is full of excuses. He sought our assistance but there is no forum to offer our assistance. The government too has asked for the same several times. If the government needs the Opposition’s assistance, what it should do is to declare a state of national disaster situation so that the Opposition could make use of Parliament as the forum for our contributions. That has not been done so far. The President and the government could make use of the provisions of the Disaster Management Act No 53 of 2005 to form a disaster management committee comprising the government and opposition MPs.

The President is the ex-officio Chairman of the committee, the Prime minister and the Opposition leader are there with 24 government ministers and five opposition MPs. In addition to that there are provisions to the involvement of the Chief Ministers of Provinces in the committee. If the government genuinely needs our support it should have started forming that committee. There are laws enabling the formulation of mechanisms to help people the government does not make use of them. We have been repeatedly asking the government to appoint that committee.

Continue Reading

News

Lord Ahamad plants kumbuk tree sapling during visit to Bellanwila – Attidiya Bird Sanctuary

Published

on

By Ifham Nizam

Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, the United Nations and the Commonwealth at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK, planted a Kumbuk (Terminalia arjuna) sapling at the Bellanwila – Attidiya Bird Sanctuary last week.

The Department of Wildlife said Lord Ahmad had been joined by the British High Commissioner in Colombo Sarah Hulton, Hasanthi Urugodwatte Dissanayake, Acting Additional Secretary of Ocean Affairs, Environment and Climate Change at the Foreign Ministry, Saman Liyanagama, Wildlife Ranger of the Colombo Wildlife Range, Department of Wildlife Conservation and Professor Sevvandi Jayakoddy, Senior Lecturer of the Wayamba University.

The planting activity was followed by a brief visit to the wetland and Prof. Jayakoddy, and Liyanagama explained the importance of wetland ecosystems as well as challenges in conservation and maintenance, while Dissanayake briefed him on the Sri Lanka’s pioneering work related to mangrove restoration and conservation, both at policy level as well as at the ground level.

Hasini Sarathchandra, Publicity Officer, Department of Wildlife Conservation said British High Commission in Colombo with the International Water Management Institute Headquartered in Sri Lanka, had already launched a project under the Darwin Initiative at the Baddegana Wetlands.  Similar collaborations are envisaged involving the Bellanwila – Attidiya Bird Sanctuary.

Wetlands play an important role in our natural environment. They mitigate the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. They provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else. Colombo is a city built on and around wetlands. Despite progressive loss and degradation, wetlands still cover some 200 km2 of the Colombo metropolitan area and suburbs.

The wetlands are fundamental to the well-being of the people of Colombo and its suburbs. The wetlands can reduce extreme air temperatures and make the city more live able due to evaporative cooling. The wetlands provide a critical land-mass which helps to maintain the richness of Colombo’s biodiversity.

The Bellanwila-Attidiya wetlands was declared as a bird sanctuary on 25 July 1990, due to biodiversity of the area and its contribution to controlling floods. The wetlands, which span over 930 acres, host endemic species and is a paradise for migratory birds. 44 species of fish including 06 which are endemic to the country have been identified in the Bolgoda River which flows through the wetlands. The wetlands are also home to 21 reptilian species, 17 species of mammals and 10 butterfly species. Bellanwia-Attidiya sanctuary falls within the upper catchment of the Bolgoda river basin. The Department of Wildlife Conservation manages the Bellanwila-Attidiya Sanctuary.

Selection of the location was also due to the close collaboration that Sri Lanka has with the Government of the UK on conservation of mangroves and wetlands.

Continue Reading

Trending