02. Progress of the project to pay 30% of the Employees’ Provident Fund
According to the provisions of the Employees’ Provident Fund Act No 15 of 1958 amended by the act no 2 of 2012, releasing of 30% of the EPF for housing activities and medical facilities was commenced in mid of 2015. 70,269 applications have so far been received in this regard while Rs. 5.5 billion has been paid for 7,537 applications hitherto. Action will be taken with immediate effect to pay the rest applications and it has been planned to implement this process in an efficient manner. Above information presented by Hon. W.D.J. Senevirathne, Minister of Labour and Trade Union Relations, was considered by the Cabinet of Ministers.
03. Section 2 of the Southern Expressway Extension Project (From Beliatta to Wetiya)
The above project is consisted of four sections from Matara to Hambantota with a full length of 96km. The second section from Beliatta to Wetiya is of a length of 26km. The proposal made by Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance, to obtain 85% of relevant funds which is amounted to US$ 360.29 million from EXIM Bank China and the rest 15% amounted to US$ 63.58 from the Hatton National Bank to complete the second section of the above project, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
04. Facilitation of Trade
Maintaining procedures in customs and international trade is important in realization of the expectation of Sri Lanka to become a Naval Trade Hub. Final draft of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which intended to accelerate and facilitate procedures related to customs clearance and borders relevant to import and export of goods was adopted in 2013 at the 09thMinisterial Meeting of the World Trade Organization in Indonesia. Members of the WTO have adopted the agreement to be entered into the Marrakesh Agreement in November 2014 and the agreement should be ratified by member states.Accordingly the proposal made by Hon. RishadBathiudeen, Minister of Industries and Commerce, to ratify the above agreement, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
05. Implementation of the programme “National Electricity Endowment”
Under the Rural Electrification Project 100% electricity coverage has been endured in Colombo, Gampaha, Kaluthara, Galle, Matara and Hambantota Districts. Other districts are approximately 90% covered. Government’s aim is to make 100% electrification in the whole country in 2016. However, it has been revealed that 200,000 houses have not taken electricity connections although they have the approach to electricity due to the inability of bearing the primary expenses required for obtaining electricity. Electricity is a basic need to uplift the lives of people and to improve the education of rural children. The proposal made by Hon. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Minister of Power and Renewable Energy, to grant loan facilities for these householders subject to a maximum limit of Rs. 40,000/- and to obtain required funds in this purpose form the Samurdhi Development Bank, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
06. Amendment of the Pradeshiya Sabha Act for the welfare of plantationlabourers
It has been identified that removal of legal obstacles is essential to provide utilities to estate settlements. Accordingly, the proposal made by Hon. Faizer Mustafa, Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, to draft amendments to the Pradeshiya Sabha Act no 15 of 1987 to enable the use of Pradeshiya Sabha Fund for the above purpose, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
07. Release of lands for resettlement in Jaffna District
It is important to resettle internally displaced persons in their homelands for building long-lasting peace and reconciliation. It is also being emphasised in LLRC report. Considerable number of families are still living in refugee camps or with their relatives as their lands are not released for resettlement. Therefore, the proposal made by Hon. D.M. Swaminathan, Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs, to release suitable lands for resettlement without affecting the national security, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
08. ‘Let’s Awaken Polonnaruwa’ District Development Programme
The cabinet of ministers have already approved the implementation of the above programme within 2016-2020 to benefit people in Polonnaruwa and adjoining districts. Peoples Republic of China has agreed to provide relevant funds to implement its priority projects related to drinking water, highways, railway lines, agriculture and irrigation. The proposal made by H.E. the President Maithripala Sirisena, to proceed with the above project, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
09. Project to enhance health facilities in selected hospitals under assistance of China
Above project intends to uplift health facilities and to affirm the equity of health services by providing medical and non medical equipment, utilities and infrastructure to hospitals in all provinces. Accordingly, the proposal made by Hon. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine, to implement the above project as recommended by the Cabinet Appointed Discussion Committee, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
10. Construction of a new building for Residential Project Manager’s Office of KirindiOya Major Irrigations
The RecidentialProject Manager’s Office of the Kirindioyamajor irrigation scheme has to be relocated due to its land was acquired to build the Lunugamwehera Bus Stand. The proposal made by Hon. WijithWijayamuniZoysa, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, to relocate the said office in a land of about 80 perches released from a land belonged to the National Livestock Development Board, and to award the contract to State Engineering Cooperation, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
11. Absorption of officers of the government service into the staff of the Election Commission
Chairman and other members of the above commission which was established by the 19th amendment to the Constitution were appointed by the Constitutional Council and the Commission is being in effect from 17-11-2015. The proposal made byH.E. the President Maithripala Sirisena, to absorb officers of the Department of Elections to perform the tasks of the Commission, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
12. South Asian Conference on Sanitation VI to be held in Bangladesh from January 11-13, 2016
Above conference is held in SAARC countries once in two years. It intends to improve the sanitation in South Asia and to obtain political cooperation in maintaining a good sanitation in the region. The sixth session of the conference is to be held in Bangladesh from January 11-13, 2016.Steps have been taken to deploy a delegation consisting of public officers, development partners, civil societies and school children to participate in the event. Above information presented by Hon. Rauff Hakeem, Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, was considered by the Cabinet of Ministers.
13. An accelerated programme for the development of middle income housing and infrastructure
The government pays a priority attention on housing and settlements and with the five point policy of the Hon. Prime Minister in the recent General Elections he has promised to build 500,000 units of houses in urban areas and suburbs for middle income groups including public and private sector employees. Accordingly, the proposal made by Hon. Sajith Premadasa, Minister of Housing and Construction, to implement the above programme, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers considering the recommendation of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management.
14. Disposal of paddy stocks purchased by the Paddy Marketing Board during the Maha season 2014/15 and Yala season 2015
It is essential to dispose prevailing stocks from stores to make room for starting the purchase of paddy for Maha season 2015/2016 at the end of this month. Therefore, the proposal made by Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, to keep 54,000 Metric Tons of Nadu Paddy as buffer stock and to sell the remaining 264,180 Metric Tons of Nadu Paddy immediately as per the recommendation of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management and the decision taken by the Cabinet Subcommittee on Cost of Living and the joint proposal made by Hon. Malik Samarawickreme, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade and Hon. P. Harrison, Minister of Rural Economic Affairs, regarding the above matter, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.