New debt process needed for countries like Sri Lanka - IMF Chief
Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva says a more predictable, timely, and orderly processes are needed for Sri Lanka.
Speaking at the first meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in Bengaluru, India, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund Kristalina Georgieva said that it is imperative for the G20 to strengthen the debt architecture.
She said, "In light of rising debt vulnerabilities in many countries, I strongly endorse efforts to strengthen the debt architecture and improve the speed and effectiveness of debt resolution."
She said that sovereign debt vulnerabilities is particularly the case for "developing and low-income countries with very limited policy space and huge development needs."
Georgieva stressed that a more predictable, timely, and orderly processes are needed both for countries under the Common Framework (CF) and for those not covered by it, including Sri Lanka and Suriname.
She added, "This means that we must enhance dialogue and collaboration on debt issues."
Mayantha to step down as COPF chair
SJB lawmaker Mayantha Dissanayake, who was appointed as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Finance (COPF) has decided to resign from the post.
The general secretary of the SJB, MP Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that Dissanayake had informed him about his decision to step down.
Dissanayake is expected to officially step down COPF chair after informing Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena of his decision in writing.
28 people hospitalised during Jathika Jana Balawegaya protest in Colombo
28 people have been hospitalised following the protest march organised by the Jathika Jana Balavegaya in Colombo on Sunday (26).
Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protest march which commenced at the Vihara Maha Devi Park in Colombo.
The injured have been admitted to the National Hospital for treatment.
The protest was held citing several concerns including delays in conducting the Local Government Election.
Earlier in the day, the Fort Magistrate Court issued an order preventing a group of 26 including Leader of the Jathika Jana Balavegaya Anura Kumara Dissanayaka from entering areas around the President's Office, President House and Galle Face from 01 pm - 08 pm on Sunday (26).
This was in reponse to a request made by the Fort, Kompannavidiya and Colpetty Police.
The Police had made the request taking into consideration the inconvenience to the public owing to the JJB protest to be held in Colombo on Sunday (26) afternoon.
Similarly, the Maligakanda Magistrate Court issued an order preventing a group including Leader of the Jathika Jana Balavegaya Anura Kumara Dissanayaka from protesting or marching around the Colombo Hospital Square.
This was in response to a request made by the Maradana Police OIC.
The Maradana Police had made the request considering the possible inconvenience to patients and people visiting the hospitals including the National Hospital and Eye Hospital.
According to the court order, the protesters were prevented from marching from the Lipton Roundabout to Deans Road, as well as blocking the road and pavement leading upto the Seamans Road Junction.
The court order applies to 26 including JJB Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, Tilvin Silva, Vijitha Herath, Nalinda Jayatissa, Bimal Rathnayake and Sunil Handunnetti.
President pledges to make Sri Lanka a year-round tourist destination
President Ranil Wickremesinghe has announced plans to make Sri Lanka a year-round tourist destination, with measures to be taken to promote the tourism sector.
According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the President made these comments during a meeting with businessmen from the tourism industry in the Galle District yesterday (23).
The PMD stated that the meeting was organized under the theme “Survival and Overcoming Challenges in the Tourism Industry.”
During the meeting, President Wickremesinghe acknowledged the challenges faced by those in the tourism sector due to the recent economic downturn but reassured the attendees that a planned program is being implemented to revitalize the sector.
The President outlined a program to attract over two million tourists to Sri Lanka, including those willing to spend $500 per day. To achieve this goal, a committee has been appointed to implement the plan as soon as possible.
In addition, President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of better publicity for Sri Lanka to the world. He highlighted the recent Independence Day celebrations, which were held with pride to demonstrate that law and order have been stabilized in the country.
The President also noted that tourist numbers had dropped following the protests in May and June of last year. To attract tourists back to Sri Lanka, he emphasized the need to demonstrate that law and order has been restored in the country.
Overall, the meeting was seen as a positive step towards promoting tourism in Sri Lanka. The President’s commitment to the industry and his plans to revitalize the sector were welcomed by the attendees, who hope that this will lead to increased investment and growth in the sector.
Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Promotion Manusha Nanayakkara, Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando, State Minister Mohan Priyadarshana de Silva, State Minister Geeta Kumarasinghe, Members of Parliament Vajira Abeywardena, Sampath Athukorala, Southern Province Governor Dr. Willie Gamage, Galle District Governor Shantha Weerasinghe and other officials attended this event.
Court issues order against Anura Kumara Dissanayaka and others from entering several areas in Colombo
The Fort Magistrate Court has issued an order preventing a group of 26 including Leader of the Jathika Jana Balavegaya Anura Kumara Dissanayaka from entering areas around the President's Office, President House and Galle Face from 01 pm - 08 pm on Sunday (26).
This was in reponse to a request made by the Fort, Kompannavidiya and Colpetty Police.
The Police had made the request considering the inconvenience to the public owing to a JJB protest to be held in Colombo on Sunday (26) afternoon.
The protest will be held citing several issues including the rise in electricity tariffs, unjust tax regime and delay in the local government election.
Chairmen appointed to Parliament Committees
New Chairmen have been appointed to the Parliament Committees of Public Finance and Public Enterprises.
Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Mayantha Dissanayake has been appointed as the Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF).
He replaces former COPF Chairman and SJB Parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Prof. Ranjith Bandara has been appointed as the Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE).
MP Ranjith Bandara defeated SJB MP Eran Wickramaratne in a vote (16 to 7) to be appointed as COPE Chairman.
President pledges new chapter for field of Military Medicine
President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced a new chapter in military medicine, establishing a separate unit to send military personnel overseas to assist in times of health disaster.
He went on to say that it will be established in addition to the group that is sent during natural disasters. He also pointed out that plans are being made to send a group of military personnel to Türkiye to assist in this time of medical disaster.
President made these remarks while speaking at the inauguration ceremony for the sixth annual academic sessions of the Sri Lanka College of Military Medicine (SLCOMM) on the theme of “Resilience of Military Medicine in Times of Crisis,” which was held in Katunayake.
He also said the Government had sent a group of military personnel to Nepal during natural disasters.
“However, I am considering using our military medical personnel to send oversees when people face health disasters. Health disasters occur more frequently than natural disasters, and I would discuss this with the military in order to establish a unit in this regard. So that is a new chapter in the history of military medicine,” he noted.
The President also said the Government will obtain more medicine through the Indian credit line in order to address the shortage of medicine during this crisis situation.
There’s no election to postpone – President
President Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament today (23) that he had sent a message to SJB’s Mujibur Rahman not to resign from his parliamentary seat to run for Colombo mayor.
“I am the one who brought MP Mujibur Rahman to politics. Therefore, I sent him a message not to resign from parliament.”
“Now, some say I postponed the election. I am asking them if there is an election to postpone.”
“The opposition called for a debate not on essential services, but about a postponement of the election. The election has not been postponed. There is no election to postpone.”
“I am not in this debate. I said previously too that I do not want politics involved.”
“The Election Commission too, has gone to court over this election and says it cannot be held. I thought of speaking a few words because of that affidavit given,” the president added.
Earthquake of 6.1 magnitude hits northern Japan
An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 hit off the eastern part of Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido on Saturday, authorities said, and no tsunami warning was issued, Reuters reported.
The quake hit off the Nemuro peninsula at a depth of 61 kilometres (38 miles), according to the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Resilience (NIED).
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
In two municipalities in Hokkaido, the quake registered as a “lower 5” on Japan’s 7-point intensity scale, which measures ground motion.
President’s message to All Royalists
During an event held this morning (22) at Royal College, Colombo, President Ranil Wickremesinghe urged all citizens, including politicians, professionals, teachers, those engaged in agriculture, the business community, and members of the security forces, police and civil servants, to work together to overcome the current economic crisis and promote reconciliation efforts.
The event was held to honour President Wickremesinghe, who is an alumnus of Royal College. The President called upon the present generation of Royalists to dedicate themselves to serving the country and transforming it into a place where they would like to reside. He urged young Royalists to take up the challenge and shape the future of the nation.
President Wickremesinghe also highlighted that Royalists are trained to live in harmony with all races and religions, emphasizing that the country cannot be divided on the basis of race or religion. He invited all politicians who are also Royalists to collaborate with the government in its efforts to revive the country’s failing economy, emphasizing that it was not a political invitation, but rather a call for a collective effort to address the economic crisis.
The statement made by President Ranil Wickremesinghe is as follows:
“I have come here on the invitation of the Prefects of Royal College to address you. I know that you’re going to stand in the sun. I won’t make my speech long. I myself have stood in the sun like this and said when they will shut up so we can go back to the classroom. And I don’t want that to happen to me. Knowing that the Prime Minister has already said that he will not speak, but he will be the Chief Guest at the prize giving, where you will be under a hall.
Before I start to say a few words, I must thank the principals who moulded me and the Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Mr Disa Bandaranayake, Mr H.D. Sugathapala, headmasters of the Royal Primary, Mr Dudley Silva and Mr Bogoda Premanath. We must thank them for all the influence that they and the other masters and lady teachers had on us in moulding our character.
I must also thank another member of the former Royal College Union Council, Mr Dian Pieris, who, together with me, stood up to save the name of Royal College and for all the other members of the Council who supported us. Otherwise, you would have had another name. But we honoured the intention that the country must have a school named after the President.
President Jayawardene in 1978 inaugurated the President’s college in Sri Jayawardhanapura, Kote, the new capital. I come here together with the Prime Minister to address you while we have also established another achievement of Royal College, where the President and the Prime Minister are from the same school and from the same class.
Royal’s history in politics goes back to about 1860 onwards. A few years after the Colombo Academy started when some of its outstanding students became members of the Legislative Council. They are, as you see in some of their portraits, C. A. Lorenz, and James De Alvis both of who wanted more power in the council. Sir Richard Morgan, the first Asian to be knighted, member of the Executive Committee, acting Attorney General and also Acting Chief Justice and Sir Muthukumarasami. The four of them dominated the politics of Ceylon for the first few years of our modern history. We have Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan the first member to be elected by the Sri Lankans. His opposing candidate who lost, Sir Marcus Fernando was also a Royalist. It was a question of deciding which Royalists you are going to vote for.
1915 was the turning point in our history when we decided after the 1915 riots that we will become an independent nation. It was Henry Pedris, a young old boy from this school who was executed by the British and we started the whole campaign. Sir Ponnamabam Rahmanathan pleaded for him in the legislative council, since he was also a Royalist. E.W. Perera and Sir James Pieris went to England to plead the cause of the Sinhala Buddhist leaders. They were also Royalists. Then all the key players on the Sri Lankan side in the 1915 riots were Royalists. After independence, we had Sir John Kotalawala as the first Prime Minister after whom the Defence University is named, and we had President J.R. Jayawardene. It was actually about, I would say nearly 44 years ago when we assembled at the quadrangle to felicitate him.
So, Royal College today has in its records, four Prime Ministers and two Presidents. This is an outstanding record for any school. We also have a Sultan of Maldives who was also a Prime Minister, Muhammad Fareed Didi and the man who modernized the Maldives, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom spent a year or more at Royal College. I think the disease of modernization, he must have gotten from Royal College. Now, we are here as the Royalists from the same class.
There is another record. The first republican constitution was drafted by Dr. Colvin R. de Silva, an old Royalist. The second republican constitution was drafted by J.R. Jayawardene, his classmate. Royalists have done it so well that no one else can change it. Now I think we have equalled that record, when the Prime Minister and I, together with the late Mr Anura Bandaranaike and Mr Malik Samarawickrama established another record. Between us, two of us have held the presidency, some Prime Ministers and one has become the Speaker, two of us have been Leaders of the House and two of us have been Leaders of the Opposition.
So this is what education at Royal has brought us and I hope you will do even better than us. That is my hope. Records are meant to be broken and not to be kept. Are any of you willing to break that record?
So, I have come here to address you at a very difficult time. A situation we have not seen in the last 400 years. A complete collapse of the economy. I won’t talk in general economic terms, but it affects all of you. In all our households, we didn’t have fuel, and electricity and those who were farming didn’t have fertilizer, we have to pay a lot of taxes and prices have gone up, inflation has come and every household has had to face the consequences. There was a total collapse of the country and when I took over the country, Mr Dinesh Gunawardane became Prime Minister, as I mentioned it was our duty to put the country first. I thought that I will take whatever decision that has to be taken to bring the economy back to at least be recognized in the world as no longer being bankrupt, within one year.
It was a tough call, but I did not want it to go on for much longer. I don’t want you’ll to suffer. We want to start fighting back and we want to have an economic resurrection. So I took all the decisions we had to take and the Prime Minister supported me. I knew the decisions I take are going to be unpalatable. It will make me unpopular. But, without those decisions, the country could not come right. And that’s what I learnt in Royal College, do what is correct and do what is good for your country. Remember that. Every decision I have taken I have thought twice or thrice on what is the burden it will impose on us. How unpopular should I become? Should I even take this decision? And when I felt that it was in the country’s interest, I took it because my first task and our first task is to bring the economy back in order. We can’t be a bankrupt country. We can’t be a beggar nation, so we have to learn that there are hard decisions to be taken in life and those decisions have to be taken. And I assure you we will by this year, see a very good improvement in our economic condition and then we will set the stage for the economic recovery of this country, not to go back to an old system which brought us down, but to a new system.
When I first came here and I came along, it was not even a ten-minute walk for me to come from there to here and we stood here in the hall, I realized one issue that all of us knew at that time. We thought we were in one of the best countries in the world because when we became independent, we were second to japan and the London Times said, we will be another Switzerland. So we were here at that time. Today, we are a country which has only Afghanistan below us. We don’t know what the future is. So when we build this future, it’s an economy that must last for 25 years. It must be a new Constitution that must last for 100 years. It must be a society not for us. None of us here are going to live for 25 years. It’s country for you’ll. Most of you here, in the first row, I don’t think you will be even 45 years old in the next 25 years.
And those in the back rows, the seniors will be around 50-55 years. That is the country you will have to live in and I want you’ll to decide what country we will live in. Not for us. That is the challenge you must take. I want you’ll to take that challenge and decide the future of the country. Just as much as President Jayawardane told us in 1977, you’ll decide what your future should be. So, I want you to be there and most of you here are living in a time when young people want to go abroad. They don’t see a future. They want to go away. But, we are Royalists and we must fight back. That’s what we have learnt to do. As you know, we have to fight both alone and with many to uphold the values that we are committed to.
So many of you will go abroad for studies and some of you will stay here. But, you must remember that this school made you a man and come here. I studied at Royal and I could have gone abroad to a university but I didn’t. My father wanted me to go abroad but I stayed here because I valued what I had. And after I passed out I did not go abroad, I stayed here because I owed my education to the state which paid for me and which sentient to the Royal College.
The Prime Minister went abroad and studied there but he remembered his obligation to the country, so he came back. And that is what you have to do. All of you come here to this school and for each of you selected, there were another 100 that were left behind. The country chose you to come here. The school chose you to come here. Then, you have the responsibility to come back to your country or stay in your country and build a new Sri Lanka.
Are you as Royalists, willing to do that? That is your task, you should come back. You should fight the odds and go ahead because we have two difficult tasks in this country. One is to put the economy into order and the other is reconciliation. We can’t be divided by race or religion. Royalists are not. So let us not do that and let us all get together. For all of you who come back, take your place in society and do your best. Whether you are at the highest level or whether you are running a normal business that’s what you have to do.
So, first I would like to ask all the old Royalists, to forget the differences and join together in bringing this country up. I am in no way telling all those in politics to join me, I am only asking all of them to get together to get over this economic crisis. I am asking those in the business world, those who are doing a small business, those who are carrying on their agriculture, and those who are in professions to join us to get over this crisis. I am asking those who are in the military services, police, public service and teaching services to join us in getting over the crisis. That is to get over it now.
But, I want you’ll to come back and ensure that you build the country again to a developed economy in 25 years. That is the task that you have.
I will not speak to you anymore but I would like to conclude with the words which we know of the oath taken by the young men of Athens, which we all had to learn in our days. I don’t know whether you learn it now. But, I would like to repeat the commitment that they gave there which we also have to follow. “We will transmit this city not only, not less but greater, better and more beautiful than when it was transmitted to us.” That is the duty of all Royalists.”
The welcome speech was delivered by the Principal of Royal College R. M. M. Rathnayake while the vote of thanks was delivered by Head Prefect of Royal College Kavisha Ratnayake.
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs Minister Vidura Wickremanayake, , Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara, State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, State Minister of Justice and Prison Affairs Anuradha Jayaratne, Members of Parliament Rauf Hakeem, Gevindu Kumarathunga, Priyankara Jayaratne, Duminda Dissanayake, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Dilan Perera, Yadhamini Gunawardena, Kavinda Jayawardena, and Senior Adviser to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake, were also among those present at the occasion.
Suspect arrested at BIA flees
A suspect who was arrested at Katunayake Airport has fled police custody.
The suspect was arrested when he arrived at Katunayake Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) to fly out to Dubai under a fake name, and later, he had escaped from police custody there.
It has been revealed that the suspect was involved in several crimes including murders and that an overseas travel ban was previously imposed on him.
Police Media Spokesperson, SSP Nihal Thalduwa mentioned that investigations have been initiated in order to arrest the suspect.
Japan announces USD 46 Mn grant for SL’s health sector
Japan has decided to provide humanitarian grant assistance of USD 46 million to Sri Lanka, the Japanese Embassy in Colombo announced on Wednesday (22).
The Japanese Embassy stated that the grant assistance is being offered to provide fuel for all public hospitals, ambulances, and medical transport vehicles in Sri Lanka.
The Embassy further stated that Japan’s total grant assistance to Sri Lanka for the year 2022 amounts to USD 104 million, the highest grant in its history.
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