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Two new factories to produce pharmaceuticals and tyres to be set up in Hambantota district – Minister

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by Raja Waidyasekara

Irrigation, Internal Security, Home Affairs and Disaster Management Minister, Chamal Rajapaksa unveiled plans to start a new pharmaceuticals factory in the Hambantota district to produce medicines locally.

In addition, a new facility to produce tyres will also be established in the district. Rubber is being grown in the Katuwana, Middeniya and Sooriyawewa areas of the region. However, instead of giving a boost to the local industry, the previous government was comfortable with merely importing rubber from Malaysia, the Minister told a meeting at Tissamaharama recently.

He said the proposed diversion of the Gin ganga and Nilwala ganga is on the cards as it will help farmers in a big way to cultivate their fields during both the Maha and Yala seasons.

“We need to encourage farmers to use carbonic fertilizer as far as possible”, Minister Rajapaksa stressed.

“It was during our tenure of government that we built an airport and a sea port in Hambantota. The previous regime failed to develop these two facilities to attract more business”, he further said.

The Minister said that a commercial aircraft pilot has an income of Rs. 500,000 monthly while an executive chef of a five-star hotel such as Shangri-la earns a monthly salary of Rs.150,000. There are more such jobs the youth of Hambantota and adjoining districts can easily fit into after undergoing training.

Continuing, he noted that the government has already restricted the import of 16 non-essential consumer commodities which can be produced locally. This gives an opportunity to local farmers to earn a substantial income by cultivating these crops.

The education sector is also being reformed on par with modern trends. An educated generation should be raised to take over the country’s future, he emphasized.

There is no fear psychosis in the country after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected to office, the Minister added, while however cautioning that certain politicians defeated by the people are trying to fuel flames of racism.



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Economic crisis: 100,000 families already starving

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Govt. to provide monthly assistance package – official

By Ifham Nizam 

Plans are underway to assist an average needy family of  four with a monthly package of Rs. 15,000, a senior adviser to President Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday, adding that the move was expected to help ameliorate the plight of nearly 65,000 families.

Food Security Committee Chairman Dr. Suren Batagoda told The Island yesterday that at present some 100,000 families across the country were starving.

He said financial assistance would be provided to those families for three months. Within three months, the government would design a package in the form of food stamps, etc.

Dr. Batagoda said the World Food Programme, UNICEF, the World Bank, and state agencies would also team up to strengthen food security, focusing especially on needy pregnant mothers and pre-school children.

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GR govt. ignored Chinese lenders’ request for debt restructuring

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had ignored suggestions by Chinese lending institutions that Sri Lanka to restructure the debt in 2021, Prof. Samitha Hettige said yesterday.

“The Rajapaksa government started talking of debt restructuring earlier this year. The Opposition had been asking for this before,” he said.  By 2021, before the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration decided on debt restructuring, the Chinese institutions that had given Sri Lanka loans suggested that a restructuring process should start since Sri Lanka would have trouble repaying the loans, the Strategic Studies scholar said.

However, the request had gone unheeded, and if the government had started discussions then, Sri Lanka would not have been in crisis, Prof. Hettige said.

The Sri Lankan foreign policy, in the last few years, had also been misguided, Prof. Hettige said. A number of Indian and Chinese companies faced unnecessary issues by the behaviour of the government, he said.

Prof. Hettige said that the government must focus on establishing free trade ports and reducing negative lists for investments.

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SJB dissociates itself from SF’s call for protest

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By Chaminda Silva

MP Sarath Fonseka’s call for people to join anti-government protests was not a decision taken by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), party MP J.C Alawathuwala said.

The SJB believed that they had to help President Ranil Wickremesinghe stabilise the country, economically and politically, he said.

MP Alawathuwala said the President must be given some time to solve the problems faced by the people and that the SJB was holding discussions with the government to guide it on a people-friendly path.

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