Saman Ekanayake has been appointed as the Secretary to the President.
The appointment was made by the newly-elected President Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Ekanayake previously was the Secretary to the Prime Minister when Ranil Wickremesinghe was serving as the Premier until Gotabaya Rajapaksa stepped down from the presidency.
He has also served as the Secretary to Prime Minister three times before that, between 2015 and 2019 when Wickremesinghe was in office as the Premier.
Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the absence of a proper investigation into the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks implies that the issue has not been fully resolved yet.
In a special statement, Acting President Wickremesinghe explained that when he took over as Prime Minister earlier this year the economy had collapsed, with power cuts lasting five hours a day.
In the two months since then, power cuts had been reduced to three hours a day, fertiliser has been provided to the farmers and the gas shortage in the country has been solved.
While the month of July would be a difficult period for the supply of fuel, Wickremesinghe revealed that stocks of diesel have been secured and will be distributed while from 21 July. Additionally, stocks of petrol will also be distributed.
He also said that steps have been taken to provide relief to those who are struggling due to the economic pressures. Loans taken by paddy farmers who have planted fields less than two acres have been cancelled, he said. Further, in view of the drop in world oil prices, fuel prices in the country have also been reduced.
While highlighting the steps taken so far, the Acting President explained that negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were nearing conclusion, and discussions for assistance with foreign countries are also progressing.
He also said that due to the incomplete nature of the investigations into the Easter Sunday attacks, he is requesting the assistance of the UK Government and their intelligence services.
He highlighted that the current political crisis in the country is due to the Executive Presidency, and said that the 19th Amendment would be re-introduced which would address many concerns of the public.
The Acting President proceeded to explain that there were elements within society that are attempting to disrupt the peace in the country. He stresses that these elements would be prohibited from disrupting the country’s progress.
Wickremesinghe further said that the government will offer solutions to peaceful protesters who had legitimate concerns.
Acting President Wickremesinghe called upon the political parties in the country to put aside their differences and urged them to come together and form an All-Party Government which would allow the country to recover from the economic crisis.
Leader of the United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the eighth Executive President of Sri Lanka a short while ago (21).
The six-time Prime Minister was sworn in before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya at the Parliamentary Complex at 10:00 am today.
Wickremesinghe was elected the President following a secret ballot held in Parliament yesterday (20), which he won by a majority of 134 votes.
Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe has directed the security forces to investigate incidents where individuals are engaged in exerting undue pressure through social media, which would affect the election of the next President.
He pointed out that there were reports on influential social media posts shared that would hamper the legislators’ ability to vote freely during the elections to select the successor President.
Ranil Wickremesinghe has been elected by Parliament as the eighth Executive President of Sri Lanka.
Parliament convened at 10am this morning (20) under the patronage of Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywarden to vote for the election of Sri Lanks’s next President.
Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Parliamentarian Dullas Alahapperuma and National People’s Power leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake were nominated for the position.
A total of 223 MPs out of the 225-member parliament cast their votes, out of which, four were declared invalid. Meanwhile, two members namely MPs Selvaraja Gajendran and G.G. Ponnambalam abstained from voting.
Wickremesinghe garnered a total of 134 votes, while MP Dullas Alahapperuma managed to collect 82 votes and MP Dissanayake secured 03 votes.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said yesterday that Sri Lanka is a warning sign to countries with high debt levels and limited policy space.
Georgieva made these remarks at the hybrid meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors held in Indonesia.
The war in Ukraine has intensified, exerting added pressure on commodity and food prices. Global financial conditions are tightening more, than previously anticipated. And continuing pandemic-related disruptions and renewed bottlenecks in global supply chains are weighing on economic activity, she said.
"As a result, later this month we will project a further downgrade to global growth for both 2022 and 2023 in our World Economic Outlook Update. Moreover, downside risks will remain and could deepen -- especially if inflation is more persistent -- requiring even stronger policy interventions which could potentially impact growth and exacerbate spillovers particularly to emerging and developing countries. Countries with high debt levels and limited policy space will face additional strains. Look no further than Sri Lanka as a warning sign," she said.
Emerging and developing countries have also been experiencing sustained capital outflows for four months in a row. They now suffer the risk of reversing three decades of catching up with advanced economies and instead falling further behind.
Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage issued an order barring any faction from entering or gathering within a 50 meter radius of the Bandaranaike Statue located in Galle Face, Colombo.
Sri Lanka Police told the court that there is a possible attempt being made to cause harm to the statue.
The Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has reduced fuel prices, effective from 10.00 pm today (17).
Accordingly, the price of a litre of 92 Octane petrol has been reduced by Rs.20 to Rs.450.
The price of 95 Octane petrol has been reduced by Rs.10 and will be sold at Rs.540 per litre.
Meanwhile, the price of a litre of Auto Diesel was reduced by Rs.20 and will be sold at Rs.440, while Super Diesel was reduced by Rs.10 and will be sold at Rs.510 per litre.
The Education Ministry today decided to extend the school holidays until next Sunday (24) and the schools will open on Monday (25).
A discussion was held on this matter at the ministry with the participation of the additional secretaries, including the Ministry Secretary, National Institute of Education (NIE) Director General, directors and provincial directors of education through online.
The decision was taken based on the current fuel crisis, transportation difficulties and the views of trade unions.
Earlier, the ministry had decided to reopen the schools from on Thursday (21).
Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe has decided to implement an urgent relief program to provide fuel, gas and essential food items to the public who are struggling due to the pressures of the ongoing economic crisis.
The decision was reached following discussions held with Ministers and Members of Parliament earlier today (16).
In addition, it has been decided to use additional money for this purpose from the relief budget that will be presented in August.
The Acting President advised to expedite the implementation of the food security program, while special attention was also paid to providing fuel and fertilizers regularly and promptly.
During the discussion, plans were also made to prepare the necessary environment for businessmen to run their business without any inconveniences.
Meanwhile, Acting President Wickremesinghe said that the plan handed over by the peaceful protesters has been recognized as a good plan and added that he will inform the activists about the measures being taken to fight corruption.
The bus fares will be reduced by 2.23% with effect from midnight today (July 19) in line with the recent fuel price reduction, the National Transport Commission says.
Accordingly, the minimum bus fare will move down to Rs. 38.00.
On July 17, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) reduced the fuel prices and Lanka IOC also slashed its prices to mirror the Ceypetco rates.
The price of a litre of Petrol (Octane 92) went down by Rs. 20 and Petrol (Octane 95) by Rs. 10 per litre. Meanwhile, Auto Diesel prices were reduced by Rs. 20 per litre and Super Diesel by Rs. 10 per litre.
Former President and the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Maithripala Sirisena says that the current situation of multiple candidates being proposed as Presidential Candidates could cause for a rift within the Parliament.
Speaking to News 1st, the former President stated that no matter whoever may win out of the three candidates proposed, it would create a divide, and the best possible alternative is for the Party Leaders to discuss and propose a single candidate for the Presidential election.
He further stated that this divide within the Parliament would end up being an issue for any Government that is yet to come.
However, the former President said that the Sri Lanka Freedom Party has not yet taken a decision in this regard, and will come into a consensus after the nominations are handed over.
The former President also added that although there were requests, he will not be contesting for Presidency, and will support an existing candidate.
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