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‘Public gallery won’t be opened during debate’

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Traditional tea party to follow budget   

Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa will present the second reading of the Appropriation Bill for the financial year 2022 in Parliament today (12). The budget speech will begin at 02.00 pm. This is the 76th budget since independence from Britain.

The Bill was presented to Parliament by the Minister of Finance on the 07 October.

The Appropriation Bill was published in the Gazette on 29 September 2021 for matters relating to obtaining service expenses for the financial year 2022 from the Consolidated Fund or any other suitable fund with provisions and obtaining loans within or outside Sri Lanka.

Accordingly, for service expenses during the period from 1st January 2022 to 31st December 2022, approval is to be obtained for recurrent and capital expenditure related to Government Expenditure amounting to rupees two thousand five hundred and five billion three hundred and forty-six million five hundred and fifty-eight thousand.

Chapter xvii of the Constitution gives Parliament full control over public finances and requires the approval of Parliament on matters including taxation, consolidation of funds or any other appropriate fund with provisions.

The second reading debate of the budget will be held for seven days from Saturday, November 13th to Monday, November 22nd. The vote on the second reading of the budget will take place on Monday, November 22 at 5.00 pm. The Committee Stage Debate will commence on Tuesday, November 23rd and will continue for 16 days, including Saturday, until Friday, December 10th. The third reading vote will be held on December 10th at 5.00 pm.

Arrangements have been made to present this year’s budget debate in sign language for the benefit of hearing-impaired community. Accordingly, a Sign Language Window will be telecast simultaneously with the live telecast during the budget debate.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that arrangements had been made to hold sittings in Parliament in accordance with all health guidelines and regulations during the entire period of the budget debate starting today (12), the presenting of the budget statement to Parliament.

The Public Gallery will not be open to the public during the budget debate and only a limited number of government officials will be allowed to attend the Budget Committee session.

The Gallery for Special Guests, invited diplomats, Ambassadors and High Commissioners will be opened tomorrow.

The budget being presented today is the second budget of the Government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the seventh Executive President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Following the budget speech, the Minister of Finance will host the traditional tea party. However, it will be limited to MPs, ministers, foreign ambassadors and invitees.



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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