By Sirimantha Ratnasekera
Water Supplies Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara says that the government has decided to hold the elections to the provincial councils as soon as possible to elect representatives who are responsible to the people.
Speaking to the media after an inspection tour of the Ratmalana Main Store and Workshop of the National Water Supply and Drainage Board on Tuesday, the Minister said people in the country expect governance in three strata. “The first tier of government is the Executive and the legislature. The second tire is provincial councils and the third is the local government bodies.
He said that the former government had suffered from an election phobia and kept postponing elections to the provincial councils. “The provincial councils do not function because they do not have elected members. We intend to remedy this situation by holding elections and allowing people to decide whom they should need to rule them at the provincial level. We cannot let this further delay.”
When it was pointed out by a journalist that several ministers in the present government had pointed out that the provincial councils were a white elephant and they should be abolished, Minister Nanayakkara said: “Each has his or her own opinion. Provincial councils are not a white elephant. There could be some shortcomings. We are planning to strengthen the auditing process in the provincial councils and bring in new laws to make them strong bodies of governance.”
Chairman of the NWSDB D.J. Samaraisnghe, General Manager P.R.R. Karunaratne, Director H.M.R. Kiriella and water board officials were also present on the occasion
CB Governor: Lanka now in a position to pay for essentials
‘Inflation will not be as high as initially expected’
Inflation will not be as high as initially expected and there are signs of economy stabilising, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe says.Dr. Weerasinghe said that during the past few months a number of initiatives had been made to improve the economy and they were yielding the desired results.
“During the last review, we thought the inflation would reach 70%. However, now we believe that the inflation will not be that high even with the electricity tariff hike,” he said.
Dr. Weerasinghe said that the severity of the shortage of foreign currency had lessened. The country was now in a position to import fuel, gas and medicines.
“This has become possible because of the decisions we took. Imports have decreased. Export revenue has somewhat increased. Even without short-term loans we have been able to meet our basic needs. This is a positive development,” Dr. Weerasinghe said.The CB Governor said that inflation driven by demand had lessened because the expansion of loans had been curtailed.The supply side inflation too would drop with price and foreign exchange stabilisation.
“Still the inflation is about 60% and that’s why we need to maintain the current high policy rates. Once the government adjusts the fiscal policy, tax, and presents the new budget, things will improve. I think you can also see this. We are seeing positives,” he said.
Dr. Weerasinghe also urged exporters to bring back the foreign exchange earnings, and that the Central Bank had taken steps to ensure that exporters abided by the CB regulations.
“The irregularities due to open accounts, hawala and undial are being controlled and the black market premium is dropping. The foreign exchange liquidity in the banking sector has increased,” he said.
The Governor added that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had made good progress. An IMF delegation was expected to visit Sri Lanka by the end of August to reach a staff-level agreement.After Sri Lanka reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF, it had to start engaging with its creditors on debt restructuring.
“Once we reach an agreement with the IMF the situation will improve further,” he added. (RK)
(See related stories in the business section)
CID arrests Mervyn 15 years after he forcibly entered Rupavahini
By Norman Palihawadana
Former Minister Mervyn Silva was yesterday arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for forcibly entering the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC) and attacking some employees there in 2007.On 27 Dec. 2007, Silva and his associates entered the SLRC premises and assaulted its news director for not airing a speech he had made in Matara.
SLRC employees held Silva incommunicado for hours, and the police intervened to secure his release. A few weeks later, some of the workers involved in the incident came under goon attacks.Mahinda Rajapaksa was the President at the time.
Aeroflot affair: flights yet to resume; MP questions status of probe into detention of SU 289
Sri Lanka hadn’t been able yet to convince Russia to resume Aeroflot flights and tourists from there to Sri Lanka suspended in the wake of the detention of SU 289 at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) on the afternoon of June 02, authoritative sources said.
Sri Lanka grappling with an unprecedented foreign exchange shortage desperately needs tourists from an important destination like Russia, which earlier accounted for a sizeable share of the incoming traffic. Responding to The Island queries, sources said that relevant authorities were in the process of looking into the issue at hand.Having summoned Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Moscow Janitha Abeywickrema Liyanage soon after the incident at the BIA, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a stern warning over the incident.
In the wake of the Russian warning, the then government took measures to lift restrictions imposed on the aircraft that was to be detained till June 16. The detained SU 289 was allowed to leave on June 06.Former Public Security Minister Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera yesterday (18) told The Island that no holds barred investigation was required to ascertain the truth.
Lawmaker Weerasekera said that the government should inform the Parliament of the progress of the investigation and what steps it intended to take as well as measures already taken to mend relations with Russia.
The retired Navy Chief of Staff said that those in authority should investigate whether a court ruling issued in respect of a case filed by Ireland-based Celestial Aviation Trading Company Ltd., against Aeroflot had been manipulated by interested parties.
It transpired that no sooner High Court Judge, S. M. H. S.P. Sethunge, in the Commercial High Court of the Western Province, Attorney-at-Law Aruna de Silva accompanied a fiscal officer of the same Court to the BIA at lightning speed to deliver the ruling.
Lawyer de Silva appeared for the plaintiff with Avindra Rodrigo, PC, (litigation) of FJ & G.de Saram, leading law firm from the colonial times. The law firm has previously declined to comment on this matter.High Court judge Sethunga is on record as having said that he didn’t order the BIA not to permit Aeroflot SU 289 to take off on the afternoon of June 02.
Attorney-at-Law Dasun Nagasena, Coordinating Secretary to Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC yesterday (18) said that the Justice Ministry recommended action against the Attorney-at-Law to the Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, PC. Nagasena said that the fiscal officer who served the Justice Ministry had been interdicted, pending further investigations. As regards the lawyer, it would be handled on the advice of the CJ, the official said. Responding to another query, the official said that the Justice Ministry hadn’t been informed yet of the progress of the investigations.
Ports, Shipping and Aviation Secretary K.D.S. Ruwanchandra yesterday said that ministry officials on Wednesday (17) discussed ways and means of resuming Aeroflot flights with relevant authorities, including the Russian embassy. Ruwanchandra said they were hopeful reaching a consensus on this matter soon. The official said so in response to The Island queries.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) President Saliya Pieris, PC, yesterday said that they could initiate an inquiry only on the basis of a formal complaint. He said so when The Island asked him whether the BASL initiated an inquiry into the lawyer’s conduct in this regard. The President’s Counsel said that normally the BASL wouldn’t launch an investigation into a matter inquired into by the CJ.
At the time of the BIA incident, Prof. G.L. Peiris had been the minister in charge of foreign affairs. Since the change of government, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has sworn in Ali Sabry, PC, as the new minister of foreign affairs.
Russia has pointed out that action was taken against SU 289 in spite of an assurance given by Sri Lanka in respect of regular flights to Colombo.Sri Lankan Airlines in late March suspended flights to Moscow in the wake of imposition of what the airline called operational restrictions in the wake of war between Russia and Ukraine.
Rootcode wins Startup of the Year and People’s Choice Award at SAARC Startup Awards 2022
Raducanu’s promising Cincinati run ends
INSEE Cement felicitates Sri Lanka’s youngest Commonwealth medallist
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
News6 days ago
Wide ranging rackets benefiting CEB engineers
News4 days ago
Thanks to QR code expenditure on fuel drops from USD 500 million to USD 230 million a month
News5 days ago
Delisting of Tamil Diaspora groups irks some; explanation sought
News3 days ago
SJB alleges Prez under SLPP pressure to give up power to dissolve Parliament
Sports6 days ago
Mathews regrets Mankading of Buttler
News3 days ago
Wimal blames Gota’s naivety, Basil’s arrogance for current situation
News2 days ago
State sector reforms: Herath endorses Ranil’s agenda
News4 days ago
Jugglery alleged in Constitution making process: SJB, Gevindu make strong case against jumbo Cabinet