16th Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration
The 16th Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration will be delivered on Monday, 30th August by Professor Neelika Malavige on the topic “The Covid-19 Pandemic : The way forward through impactful research.”
Professor Malavige is an Alumnus of the University of Colombo and is presently the Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura. She is also presently the Director of the Centre for Dengue Research of the University of Sri Jayewardenapura and also a Visiting Academic at the MRC Human Immunology Unit of the University of Oxford.
The Annual Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration, being a premier annual event of the University of Colombo is hosted for the 16th consecutive year by the Alumni Association of the University of Colombo, in memory of its illustrious Past President the late Mrs. Sujata Jayawardena who rendered immense service to the University of Colombo.
This will be the first time this Oration will be held virtually, both through the Learn Network and Portal through Zoom and as a Facebook Event.
Speaking on the Oration, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo Prof. Chandrika N. Wijeyaratne said “I convey my deepest appreciation to our respected alumni for recognizing home grown scientific researchers who can contribute to society, that is aptly personified by the experiences of the Covid-19 Pandemic.”
University of Colombo Alumni President Mr. Rajeev Amarasuriya speaking about the upcoming Oration said “We are in unprecedented times searching for light at the end of the tunnel. In circumstances like these it is good to take a step back and reflect before moving forward. I am confident this year’s Oration will provide that opportunity for everyone”.
Former President of the Alumni Association Mr. Thilak Karunaratne who conceived the idea of this Annual Oration during his Presidency in 2004 said “We could not have the SJM Oration for two years due to the Covid Pandemic. Therefore, it is great to have the Oration virtually this year. Further, we are extremely fortunate to have a person of the calibre of Prof. Neelika Malavige as the Orator with a timely topic”.
Past Orators have been Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe, Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala, H.E. Robert O. Blake Jr., Judge C.G. Weeramantry, Vidyajothi Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare, Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, H.E. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Dr. P.B. Jayasundara, Prof. Sudarshan Seneviratne, Emeritus Prof. Carlo Fonseka, Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Chinese Ambassador H.E. Yi Xianliang, Indian High Commissioner H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Mr. Tony Weerasinghe.
All those interested in participating at this year’s Oration are requested to connect through the Alumni Association’s Facebook Page : “The Alumni Association of University of Colombo” or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Ms. Suraji on 0717289014
GL: Suspension of IMF bailout highlights failure to meet anticipated revenue targets
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Top Opposition spokesperson Prof. G. L. Peiris yesterday (02) said that the government should take full responsibility for the suspension of USD 2.9 bn IMF bailout over Sri Lanka’s failure to achieve the anticipated revenue mobilisation.
The former External Affairs Minister found fault with the government for tax concessions granted to investors and the failure on its part to collect taxes, in spite of reaching an agreement with the IMF in that regard.
Referring to the declaration made by IMF delegation head Peter Breuer that the second tranche of about $330m would be delayed pending Staff-Level Agreement, Prof. Peiris pointed out that Sri Lanka and the lending agency had reached a staff-level agreement in early September last year.
Sri Lanka received the first tranche of USD 330 mn in the third week of March this year in terms of the Extended Fund Facility (EFF), spread over a period of four years.
While pointing out that revenue mobilisation had improved, the IMF said revenue was expected to fall short of initial projections by nearly 15 percent by the end of this year.
Addressing the media at the Nawala Office of Nidahasa Jathika Sabhawa, Prof. Peiris said that though the government tried to put on a brave face, the consequences of the indefinite delay could be quite catastrophic. He said the suspension of the programme could undermine debt restructuring talks with external creditors, governments, lending agencies and the commercial market.
Prof. Peiris said that the suspension of the programme, just after the release of the first tranche, was a matter for serious concern as the unexpected development could cause further erosion of investors’ confidence in the Sri Lankan economy.
Sri Lanka has obtained IMF assistance on 16 occasions.
Chairman of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Economic and Physical Plans Mahindananda Aluthgamage on Sunday told The Island the country was paying a very heavy price for the failure on the part of the Inland Revenue, Customs and Excise Department to collect the due taxes. Alleging that unpaid income taxes alone, over the past 15 years, amounted to a staggering Rs 904 bn, whereas revenue collecting authorities so far managed to collect Rs 1,643 bn though they were given a target of Rs. 3,101 bn for this year.
Prof. Peiris said that corruption in the public sector procurement process undermined the economic recovery process. The government defeated the Opposition moved no-confidence motion against Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella over corruption in the public health sector, Prof. Peiris said, asserting that the IMF must be aware of how the government encouraged waste, corruption, irregularities and mismanagement.
Prof. Peiris urged the government to take tangible measures to address the concerns of the IMF. Unfortunately, the government sought to deceive the public by claiming that the process was on track and would proceed following staff-level agreement, he said. He asked whether the government wanted the people to believe there would be staff-level agreements before the release of each tranche.
Prof. Peiris said that the government should correctly identify the warning issued by the IMF. It would be the responsibility of the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government to take remedial measures without further delay.
LPBOA demands bus fare hike
By Rathindra Kuruwita
Lanka Private Bus Owners Association (LPBOA) head, Gemunu Wijeratna on Monday (02) said they needed a five percent increase in bus fares following Sunday’s diesel price hike.
On Sunday, CPC, LIOC and Sinopec increased diesel prices by 10 rupees per litre.
Wijeratna said that the private bus owners had not increased bus fares when diesel prices were increased by 35 rupees per litre recently.
“With the latest price increase, short distance buses will lose Rs 1,000 a day. Long distance buses will lose Rs 2,500 a day. We can’t lose money like this. We want at least a five percent bus fare hike,” he said.
School transport providers have decided not to increase their charges.
Discourse on crisis in Lankan health sector at CSR
A discourse on the crisis in Sri Lankan health sector, under the theme ‘What ails the health sector? What solutions?’ is scheduled to be held at 4.00 p.m. on Thursday, 05 October 2023, at the Centre for Society & Religion (CSR) Auditorium, 281, Deans Road, Colombo 10, under the auspices of the Socialist Study Circle. The speakers will be Dr. Vinya Ariyaratne, Consultant Community Physician, President, Sri Lanka Medical Association, Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama, Consultant Physician, National Institute of Infectious Diseases and Ravi Kumudesh President, Academy of Health Professionals. The discourse is open to the public.
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