The All Island Canteen Owners Association has decided to increase the price of a rice packet and all other food items 10 per cent.
President of the Association Asela Sampath said the decision was taken due to the hike in fuel prices announced earlier today.
He said that if the prices of food items are not revised, restaurants that are currently 60% closed will have to close completely due to the rising price of essentials.
The Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court today ordered the release of former Minister Kumara Welgama from the bribery case filed against him.
The case was taken up before Colombo Chief Magistrate Nandana Amarasinghe today (June 24).
The Bribery Commission had lodged the case, accusing the former minister of allegedly incurring losses to the government by creating an unapproved vice chairperson position at the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB), appointing one of his associates to the said position, making salary payment to the tune of LKR 3 million.
The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) approved power cuts for 3 hours per day from 27th June until 03rd July as follows;
1 hour and 40 minutes during daytime 1hour and 20minutes during night.
2 hours from 6.00am to 8.00am (Except 2nd and 3rd July)
3 hours from 5.00am to 8.00am(Except 2nd and 3rd July)
Social activist and Sri Lankan YouTuber Rathindu Senaratne alias ‘Ratta’ and national organizer of ‘Youth for Change’ Lahiru Weerasekara along with five others have surrendered to the Maradana Police yesterday (22).
They were wanted over the unrest in early June where two separate protests staged in front of the Education Ministry in Thalangama and the Police Headquarters in Colombo- Fort took a violent turn.
However, student union leader Wasantha Mudalige and Venerable Galwewa Siridhamma Thera who were also involved in the incident have not surrendered to the police.
Jagath Manuwarna, Dhammika Munasinghe, Rathkarawwe Jinaratana Thera, Eranga Gunasekera and Jehan Appuhamy are amongst the group.
The Minister of Finance has issued an order to reduce the amount of foreign currency retained in possession by an individual in Sri Lanka from USD 15,000 t0 USD 10,000 or its equivalent in other foreign currency.
The directive, issued pursuant to Section 08 of Foreign Exchange Act No. 12 of 2017, is effective from the 16th of June.
In a statement, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) said the decision was taken with the intention of attracting foreign currency in the hands of the public into the formal banking system.
According to the CBSL, an amnesty period of 14 working days effective from the date of the Order (June 16, 2022) is granted for persons in, or resident in, Sri Lanka who hold foreign currency notes in possession for the following:
• To deposit into a Personal Foreign Currency Account or into a Business Foreign Currency Account as specified in the Order, or
• To sell to an Authorized Dealer (A licensed commercial bank or National Savings Bank)
At the end of the said amnesty period, the CBSL has the right to initiate actions against persons who hold foreign currency in possession by violating the Order, in terms of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Act.
For further information, the general public can contact any licensed commercial bank or National Savings Bank, or refer to the Order under Section 8 of the Foreign Exchange Act published in the Gazette (Extraordinary) Notification No. 2284/34 dated 16 June 2022 via the official website of the Department of Foreign Exchange (www.dfe.lk).
Several political parties belonging to the Opposition, including the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), have decided to boycott Parliament this week.
Speaking in Parliament today (21), Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa said his party would boycott parliament this week, as they have failed to address the crises currently being faced by the people of the country.
Meanwhile, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, leader of the National People’s Power (NPP) also stated that his party would boycott Parliament this week.
He suggested that the government submit a short-term programme to address the ongoing crisis, to take the country forward.
Sri Lanka’s Energy Minister in an update on fuel shipments to the country said that the suppliers that had confirmed Petrol, Diesel and Crude Oil Shipments to arrive earlier this week and next week has communicated the inability to fulfill the deliveries on time for banking and logistic reasons.
He said that until the next shipments are at Port and unloaded, Public Transport, Power Generation and Industries will be given a priority.
“Limited stocks of Diesel and Petrol will be distributed to limited stations throughout next week,” tweeted the Minister requesting the public not to remain in queues for fuel.
He went on to note that at the moment CPC is not able to confirm the arrival dates of the shipments with the new developments.
He said the the refinery operations will be temporarily closed until the next crude shipment.
“We are working with all new and existing suppliers. I Apologize for the delay and inconvenience,” said the Minister.
A total of 21 protesters including a Buddhist monk have been arrested by the police for obstructing two entrances of the Finance Ministry in Colombo.
Police said that the arrested protesters includes a Buddhist monk, four females and another 16 males.
They had been engaged in a protest this morning (20) blocking the entrance to the Ministry of Finance while the protesters had also erected tents near the entryway.
The Police Media Unit said that this had resulted in officials of the Finance Ministry, Presidential Secretariat and the Treasury facing various difficulties in reporting for duties and essential services.
The release further states that the public who came to obtain services from these institutions also had to face various difficulties.
Police said that even the meeting of the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance with the IMF representatives who have arrived in the country, had also been delayed due to the blockade at the entrance to the ministry.
The police and STF personnel had been deployed subsequently to disperse the protesters while they had arrested 21 protesters.
The arrested suspects are to be produced before courts later today (20).
The protest had been organised by those protesting at the Galle Face Green. They had blocked the area for traffic from near the Lotus Road in Colombo Fort all the way up to the Finance Ministry entrance.
All schools which were closed over the last week owing to the fuel crisis are scheduled to function for three days in the coming week, as per a notice issued by the Ministry of Education.
Accordingly, schools will reopen from Tuesday (28) to Thursday (29), between 07:30 am and 01:30 pm, while online classes will continue on those days that students are absent.
The primary sections of these schools, however, will function at the discretion of the respective principals.
Meanwhile, schools in rural areas that remain unaffected by transportation and the fuel crisis will continue with their academic activities for the entire week, just as they did from 20 to 24 June.
With regards to teachers, the Education Ministry noted that teachers who are unable to attend school owing to transportation difficulties will not be subject to leave deductions, and assured that their absence will not be considered a private holiday.
The brother of SLPP Parliamentarian Sanath Nishantha was arrested by police of assaulting a civilian.
Jagath Samantha, the 38-year-old brother of SLPP Parliamentarian Sanath Nishantha was arrested by police of assaulting a civilian who was in line at a filling station in Arachchikattuwa on Sunday (19).
The suspect, a member of the Arachchikattuwa Pradeshiya Sabha was arrested on Monday (20) morning.
He is charged with obstructing the duties of a police officer, and assaulting a civilian.
The suspect will be produced in court on Monday (20).
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says that steps will be taken to legally grant land and house ownership to millions of people who do not have a deed to their own lands and homes.
The program to hand over land ownership to landless families under the ‘Land for All’ program began this morning at the Prime Minister’s Office.
This program is implemented by the Ministry of Tourism and Lands through the Land Reforms Commission and the Department of the Land Commissioner General.
Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism and Lands stated that the first step in granting land ownership to all persons in the island who do not have legal title to the land will be the issuance of deeds from today.
The Minister further stated that arrangements have been made to issue between 1,000 and 3,000 deeds to the land owners every week under this program which was prepared with the objective of giving those who have lost their land in their a legal right.
Parallel to this program, title deeds were issued in Puttalam and Kurunegala Divisional Secretariats today.
Minister of Labor and External Affairs Manusha Nanayakkara, Chairman of the Land Reforms Commission and the Commissioner General of Lands and a number of officials and deed holders were present at the occasion which symbolized the awarding of title deeds.
State-owned LITRO Gas denied the allegation levelled by Nagananda Kodithuwakku regarding an alleged tender fraud that was committed at the state-owned gas company, stating that his comments come in a low-level attempt to accomplish political goals by fabricating a news from a false part of a popular story.
The sources on the condition of anonymity explained that an international tender was launched for the purchase of 280,000 metric tonnes of gas for LITRO for 2022 – 2023 and that its lowest bid, which was ended on 16/03/2022, was tendered to SIAM Gas for a shipping cost of US $ 96 per metric tonne, adding that this was already public record and there is no evidence to suggest that Kodithuwakku had researched and found anything new.
Accordingly, Kodithuwakku is promoting false propaganda, knowingly or unknowingly, they added.
Kodithuwakku, who reveals only the date of the letter sent to SIAM on May 03, 2022 with the approval of the Cabinet, either does not know the entire contents of the letter or deliberately conceals the rest of the letter for his own purpose, the sources alleged.
Kodithuwakku conceals the facts that there is a shortage of gas in the current Sri Lankan market, LITRO had requested the Supplier (SIAM) to to provide 15,000 metric tonnes of gas for June considering the tender bid price being only US$ 96 per metric tonne as an emergency, as it takes some time to prepare standby letters of credit (SBLC) for the security of the Supplier, and the request was rejected outright by SIAM and urged on May 09, 2022 that a SBLC of US$ 30 million be issued via an international bank and that the gas could not be supplied until the issuance of such a LC, sources further disclosed to LNW.
They went on saying that Kodithuwakku has deliberately ignored the fact that LITRO is currently unable to provide a LC amounting to US$ 30 million due to the current crisis facing the country.
Replying to a letter from the state-owned gas company sent on May 03, 2022 requesting the supply of 15,000 metric tonnes of gas, SIAM responded on May 30, 2022 that such a consignment cannot be provided under this volatile situation and that they are able to provide 6,600 metric tonnes ten days after the issuance of a SBLC via a bank and that such an offer could be made for US$ 112 per metric tonne, not US$ 96.
In the backdrop, the second lowest bidder Oman Trading (OQ Trading) called for an emergency purchase of 15,000 metric tonnes of gas and they stated that at least 100,000 metric tonnes of gas should be purchased at a rate of US$ 129 per metric tonne. The rate was similar to the price they had initially offered for the tender.
The state treasury failed to provide them with SBLC due to the growing gas crisis locally and the inability of the lowest bidder SIAM to supply enough gas and worsening the situation, SIAM set out to offer conflicting prices. In the backdrop, the Sri Lanka LP gas market became a burning spot and the then LITRO Chairman Vijitha Herath sent a letter to the Finance Ministry on May 31, 2020 requesting financial assistance to obtain gas from OQ Trading in this emergency.
The Cabinet meeting held on 08/06/2022 accordingly concluded that SIAM would be the lowest bidder, but the government could not issue an SBLC in the event of a a recession and neither the bank nor the Treasury would be able to provide such facilities, urging the SIAM tender to be called off.
The Cabinet also directed that a new tender be issued expeditiously and that measures be taken to implement the procurement procedure on a more favourable basis considering the economic situation. It directed the relevant parties to obtain gas from OQ Trading, the second lowest bidder, for these urgent public needs and to meet those needs by working on favourable agreements on a more favourable credit basis amidst the economic challenges.
Therefore, Kodithuwakku ought to understand that it was an emergency purchase, not a preliminary tender, and that SIAM’s withdrawal was not due to commissions but because the GOSL was unable to issue SBLC on behalf of the company, the LITRO sources further pointed out.
They also alleged that Kodithuwakku is in an attempt to provoke unrest among the people by equating the gas price to that of LAUGFS, Rs. 6800, against the backdrop where current LITRO Chairman Muditha Peiris has pledged that the price of a domestic LITRO gas cylinder will not exceed Rs. 5,200.
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