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Budget 2018: 'Innovative and confident'

Nov 12 (SO) Govt’s third budget presented last Thursday confirmed the discipline needed to maintain financial stability and stayed true to the govt’s Economic Development Plan-Vision 2025, economic analysts said. “This budget seems consistent with the Govt’s long term economic policies which is a very positive step towards promoting investments and encouraging exports – the most important segments to earn valuable foreign exchange. more..

SEC plagued with hate mail

Nov 12 (ST) Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in recent months has been plagued by hate mail which informed sources say is precipitated by reopening of certain stock market fraud probes related to important personalities. This mail is directed at frustrating the SEC officials in a bid of destabilise the institution, informed sources said. “There’re vested interests within the SEC and outside who are trying more..

Budget 2018: More bouquets than brickbats

Nov 12 (ST) Sri Lanka’s first designer budget has been viewed as unconventional to some, confusing to others and long term visionary goals to pragmatists. While the focus is on creating hundreds of new enterprises in a green economy and provide opportunities to school leavers and young entrepreneurs, sticking points in the 2018 budget are fears that foreign companies will invade the shipping sector and high taxes would result in a sharp hike in car prices. more..

Electric tuk tuks for Sri Lanka

Nov 12 (ST) SL plans to bid farewell to fossil fuel three wheelers by increasing taxes on the import of tuk tuks while promoting electric three wheelers. It also planned to export the excess fossil fuel vehicles to Bangladesh. Import taxes on a diesel three wheeler will rise by around Rs. 50,000 in order to encourage the transition to environmentally friendly electric three wheelers, 2018 budget proposal revealed. Govt’s plan is to reduce carbon emissions to a considerable level by 2025 more..

Sports to get tremendous uplift in 2018

Nov 12 (SO) Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera allocated Rs. 3,450 million to develop the sports sector through his maiden budget. Sports have the twin impact of building a sense of social cohesion and social capital whilst ensuring that the country achieve recognition in the international arena. In this context, Minister Samaraweera read out a series of proposals to develop the country’s sports activities in the Budget 2018. more..

Youth U-19 Asia Cup: Sri Lanka beat Afghanistan by 61 runs

Nov 12 (ST) Opener and right hand batsman Hasitha Boyagoda (53) and left arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama (5 for 17), shone for Sri Lanka U19 as the duo guided their side to a comfortable 61 runs win over Afghanistan U19 in a match reduced to 42 overs due to rain at the Bayuemas Oval ground in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was their second win in the series. Hasitha cracked a sedate but patience knock of 53 in 84 balls that comprised three boundaries and a six more..

High flying Brits seeking control of Ascot Holdings

Nov 12 (Island) Some high flyers from the British share industry are associated with the push by a Mauritius based company and a related party to gain control of Colombo incorporated Ascot Holdings through a forthcoming mandatory offer at Rs. 42.50 a share, a circular to shareholders on the offer reveals. Ascot (once Asian Cotton Mills in which the late H.W. Jayewardene had an interest and of which the late AYS Gnanam was Managing Director) owns a property on TB Jayah Mawatha. more..

Entrepreneurs encouraged by designer budget

Nov 12 (ST) Ernst & Young (EY) hosted its customary post Budget forum on Friday, with its head of Tax services Duminda Hulangamuwa highlighting significant features of the 2018 Budget as well as setting the stage for industry personalities to express their views and concerns. This was the 18th forum since EY convened the first ever post budget forum in the year 2000, Mr. Hulangamuwa in his remarks welcomed more..

COPA to present report on 831 state institutions in Parliament tomorrow

Nov 12 (ST) Committee on Public Accounts (COPA)’s comprehensive report on 831 government institutions will be presented in Parliament tomorrow, Committee Chairman MP Lasantha Alagiyawanna said. Report will contain accounts of 831 institutions for 2015, Mr. Alagiyawanna said. Among the institutions COPA examined were 50 ministries, 91 departments, 25 district secretariats, 45 provincial ministries, 23 municipal councils, 41 urban councils and 271 pradeshiya sabhas. more..

Ship with load of rejected petrol awaiting clearance to set sail

Nov 12 (Island) The motor tanker Torm Astrid, which transported the rejected consignment of fuel for the LIOC still remains anchored in Trincomalee’s outer harbor ostensibly awaiting clearance to sail to the next port of call. There were crew changes and replenishment of food and water, but the vessel, which arrived in the Trincomalee harbor from Singapore with a consignment of petrol, is still awaiting the green light to head for its next destination, senior port officials said. more..

Malaysia’s AirAsia wants to set up budget carrier here

Nov 12 (ST) Malaysian low-cost airline AirAsia has made a strong pitch to set up a budget carrier in Colombo with a 51% stake for the SL Govt. But Minister Kabir Hashim, in charge of SriLankan Airlines, claimed he was completely bypassed. A team from AirAsia made an hour-long presentation to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) on Wednesday. While Minister Hashim is a member of the group, more..

Rs 4.7B for fisheries industry development

Nov 12 (CT) SL's fisheries industry has received an overall allocation of Rs 4,750 million in Budget 2018 under the blue economy concept, which the Govt says will integrate the full potential of ocean related activities in the island. Blue-Green Budget contains many proposals aimed at uplifting and growing the industry, including the allocation of Rs 1,750 million to develop and upgrade the anchorages and landing sites of fishery harbours such as Chilaw, Mirissa, Karainagar and Purana Wella. more..

‘progressive in nature’

Nov 12 (SO) The senior consultant for Ports and Airport of the Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA) Rohan Masakorala said “This budget is progressive in nature and has a holistic approach to socio economic development. It is good for the overall development and growth of the country. The implementation process needs careful consideration and a streamlined action plan is necessary for budget proposal implementation.” Canned Fish Manufacturing Association more..

Oil fiasco: Arjuna to call in the CID

Nov 12 (CT) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga will call in the CID to conduct a full investigation into the fuel crisis that gripped the country last week, alleging that a suspected oil mafia was behind the issue. Minister Ranatunga had mentioned his intention for such an investigation during a meeting with Prez Sirisena last week. Accordingly, Prez had told Ranatunga to inform CID in writing requesting such an investigation. more..

Out-of-Budget solution for SriLankan

Nov 12 (CT) Govt has decided to completely revamp SriLankan Airlines under a public-private partnership (PPP) unit set up at the Ministry of Finance, after several failed investing attempts, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, R.H.S. Samaratunga said. He said PPP unit will soon appoint consultants for the re-structuring process. "Managing a debt-ridden Airline is a difficult task. Therefore, we have decided to introduce a completely out-of- budget management solution to overcome it", more..

Agricultural Ministry: Rs.4.9mn as electricity charges for vacant building: Nalinda

Nov 12 (DM) Exposing another instance of blatant waste and corruption, JVP MP Nalinda Jayatissa revealed that the still-to-be-occupied Agricultural Ministry building in Rajagiriya had incurred Rs.4.9 million as electricity tariffs for just thirteen months. He said but in contrast the Agricultural Ministry had paid Rs.13.9 million as electricity charges for the building it currently occupied. In the absence of the Agricultural Minister, Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka responded saying that more..

Relations between SLFP and UNP further strained

Nov 12 (ST) A well-known Sinhala adage refers to the plight of those who went to seek solace at a temple but found the roof collapsing on their heads. That in essence appeared to be the dilemma of a high-powered 3-member UNP delegation which had a meeting with Prez Sirisena just last week. It was brief but had the undesired effect. Their purpose was to convey the party’s deep disappointment that their leader more..

Govt juggling from constitution to budget to SAITM, people getting furiouser & furiouser

Nov 12 (Island) It has been a long week in politics. Even as the babel of a debate on the constitution in and out of parliament was getting nowhere near its end, it was time for the Finance Minister to deliver his first, his govt’s fourth and apparently the country’s 72nd budget to a weary parliament. And wearier still for those MPs who cycled for the occasion in their sartorial best, led by Mahinda Rajapaksa with his security alongside on foot and holding up traffic all around bicycle parade. more..

Critcal analysis of UN panel of expert report

Nov 12 (Island) Sunday Times of 29 Oct carried an article referring to Lord Naseby on demanding to remove the war crime tag from Sri Lanka. Lord Naseby researched classified documents to find that UN has fudged the casualty figure of 40,000 civilians killed during the last phase of warin Sri Lanka whereas it was a guess by the UN Panel of Experts (POE) better known as Darusman Commission. According to the classified documents filed by then British Defence Attaché in Colombo more..

Vedar of the East: A Forgotten People

Nov 12 (CT) They call themselves descendants of Kuhani (Kuweni), consort of Vijaya, and live in a place called Santhosapuram, one of the 30 villages inherited by these Tamil Vedar (Veddahs). But these Vedar of the East are not recognized for their heritage and certainly have little joy in their lives. They live in probably one of the most beautiful parts of the island, the place where the Mahaweli, greatest of our rivers breaks up into rivulets, more..

Carbon tax to result in bus fare increase?

Nov 12 (NR) The All Island Private Bus Owners Federation says bus fares will have to be increased due to the carbon tax imposed through the 2018 Budget proposal. Chief Secretary Anjana Priyanjith said the carbon tax will result in the deterioration of the private bus industry. Priyanjith said the Federation is left with no alternative other than to increase bus fares in order to pay off the carbon tax. more..

2,000 women to be elected to local councils

Nov 12 (ST) More than 2,000 women representatives will be elected to local govt bodies under the newly introduced mixed electoral system that calls for at least 25% women representation in local councils. Elections conducted under the previous Proportional Representative system returned only 82 women members to all the local councils which now stand dissolved. Gazette notification giving the number of members to more..

Dissenting voices rock TNA

Nov 12 (CT) The TNA, currently the biggest coalition of Tamil political parties mainly representing the Tamil people of the North and East, is yet again facing a tug-of-war, as the EPRLF has waged a war of words with the ITAK. It is not the first time that the coalition had had misunderstandings among constituent parties. Since its initiation in 2001, there had been splits within the ranks of TNA. The Alliance was formed on 20 October 2001 by more..

SriLankan flight makes emergency landing at Kunming

Nov 12 (ST) A SriLankan Airlines flight (UL 829) doing its finals to land at the Kunming International Airport in China was forced to abort after the flaps malfunctioned. After carrying out emergency drills, the Airbus A 320 pilot later made an emergency landing. Fire engines and rescue crew were on standby. Since then, the aircraft remained on ground until spares were flown down from a supplier in China. more..

Laggala tragedy: Alert villager’s phone call saved lives upstream

Nov 12 (ST) In what could be a prelude to last week’s tragedy of eight people from two families drowning while bathing in the Thelgamu Oya in Laggala, comes a report of how just before the incident a group of about 40 to 50 bathers were saved from succumbing to a similar fate about 6-7 kilometres further upstream due to an alert villager. On that fateful day on-duty life guards, Matale police officer R.M.A.S. Ratnayaka and more..

JO complains to visiting C’wealth PA chief

Nov 12 (CT) Secretary General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Akbar Khan arrived in SL yesterday at the invitation of the MPS of the Joint Opposition to look into the complaints of JO members against the Govt. UPFA MP Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena representing the Joint Opposition said that information has been reported that certain actions had been taken to delay the issue of a visa to Secretary General of CPA more..

President shifts gear on war crimes

Nov 12 (EN) President Maithripala Sirisena, who had previously maintained that Sri Lankan troops never committed excesses, acknowledged at the weekend that some troops were responsible for crimes at the behest of politicians. Addressing military officers, Prez said no one will be punished for prosecuting the war against LTTE, but those who carried out excessed will be punished. Deviating from his earlier stance that more..

Labour Minister wants Gal arrack prices reduced to benefit common man

Nov 12 (Island) Minister John Seneviratne asked the Finance and Mass Media Minister to bring down the price of Gal (extra special) arrack. Participating in the second reading stage debate on budget proposals in parliament yesterday, the Minister said that he would speak to party leadership and get the approval of his party to bring down the price of Gal arrack because that would be a great relief to the general public. more..

Sri Lanka to start another crony Exim/SME state bank in different guise?

Nov 12 (EN) Budget for 2018 has announced plans to build a bank for start-ups and small and medium enterprises with a tax payer funding of a massive 10 billion rupees, raising fears of another crony state bank being set up. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said start-ups and SME lacked capital when they did not have collateral. "Our objective is to ensure that no entrepreneur is ever denied credit due to lack of collateral, more..

Bond boondoggle & Web diatribes

Nov 13 (CT) This picture with its insightful wording below it, is a cultural production of our current social, political spheres. The writer received it on a contraption called WhatsApp installed in the tab by a daughter determined to expose her father to digital literacy. Should we not agree, that this picture is an eloquent expression of our present popular zeitgeist? President Maithripala Sirisena at the second death anniversary of Venerable Maduluwawe Sobhitha thero, informed us more..

Enduring snake-charming of a political kind

Nov 13 (ST) Can sheer bumbling incompetence bring down a Govt? This may be a far from rhetorical question in the months ahead. However what propels this query at this point is not simply the arch tragi-comedy of Sri Lanka’s fuel crisis this week. This had its funny moments with snake charmers and musicians playing at fuel stations where perspiring motorists waited for hours for their rations, beset by equal parts fury and frustration. Certainly dark mutterings of Rajapaksa-conspiracies more..

Thelgamu Oya tragedy: Where there is life there is death

Nov 13 (SO) Time is everything. Five minutes makes the difference between victory and defeat, said Lord Horatio Nelson, Vice Admiral of the British Naval forces whose gallantry is recorded in history, who knew the value of five minutes. Yes, it was all over in five minutes. Time was what they didn’t have. Losing their battle with raging waters of Thelgamu Oya, 8 members from two neighbouring families were defeated in war of life on Sat. more..

In light of Dr Nalaka Godahewa’s speech at the UNHRC in Geneva

Nov 13 (CT) Given Dr Nalaka Godahewa’s professional background, his speech at the UNHRC appears to be a political stunt. For it is in the main misleading, illogical, irrational, not doctoral and at times disingenuous. His speech is premised on the fallacious hypothesis that discrimination against minorities in Sri Lanka, particularly the Tamil community has been fabricated (or imagined myth). Recent activities indicate that he would have represented Viyathmaga. more..

PM hits for a 6: Arjuna’s spin attack on LIOC

Nov 13 (ST) Potbellied Arjuna Ranatunga may have led the SL cricket team to World Cup victory in 1996 and had the nation popping their champagne corks in jubilation but he certainly had the country stumped this week and fulminating when, as Minister of Petrol, he grossly failed to ensure the smooth and steady supply of the lifeblood of the Lankan economy: Oil, the black gold of Arabia. Sorry seemed to be the easiest word to rinse away his responsibility as minister in charge of fuel more..

'I regret inconvenience caused to the public'

Nov 13 (CT) Minister Arjuna Ranatunga says only 90,000 metric tons of fuel can be stored at Kolonnawa and Muthurajawela storages. It is sufficient for 25 days only. Once in two weeks, one of us (CPC or IOC) has to bring in a fuel tanker. Q: You rejected the request made by the LIOC during the first week of October to increase the price of fuel. The fuel crisis that arose which lasted for about 6 days subsequent to an SMS that more..

The saga of the Tattoo

Nov 13 (SO) So we all remember the big brouhaha regarding this lady who was nabbed with a Tattoo of the Lord Buddha on her arm, no? Imagine the irony, when a white lady is caught for professing her faith and Tattooing the image of the Buddha in reverence and respect. Ah yes, she was a practising Buddhist, who came down to meditate and our Jhonnys decide to take her to the police station as she was walking out of the airport. Remember the scenario, no? 3 days at the Mirihana detention camp more..

Editorial: Egg on Mr.Jones' plate

Nov 13 (Island) The overall direction of Budget 2018, in terms of macroeconomic development, is considered positive as its proposals are thought to reassure continuous fiscal discipline through enhanced revenue, controlled expenditure and, therefore, be good for debt sustainability. It is being argued in some quarters that unlike in the last two budgets, proposals are somewhat consistent with other economic policy statements issued by the govt from time to time, more..

PM's cronies protecting crooks: ඩීල් සාගල

Oh, what a mess to be entangled in! : 19A is what stands in the way

Nov 13 (SO) Few would shed tears for the exit of Geetha Kumarasinghe from Parliament last week, sent home by the Supreme Court which upheld a decision of the Court of Appeal that held that Kumarasinghe was a dual citizen at the time of the last general elections and thus ineligible to be an MP. Sure, Geetha is an accomplished actress and won many awards and admirers for her performances. As a parliamentarian though, her performances were pathetic. more..

Now-defunct Provincial Councils can’t make payments without Chief Ministers’ approval

Nov 13 (Island) The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka created the Provincial Councils and set out the powers, duties and responsibilities of such Councils. That Constitutional Amendment also distinguished between the functions of the Provincial Councils (set out in List I- Provincial List of the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution) with that of the functions of the Central Govt (set out in List II- Reserved List of the Ninth Schedule). more..