The Government of Singapore has awarded a five-day training program titled ‘Public Sector Leadership Program for Senior Officials from Sri Lanka’ which is to be held at the Civil Service College, Singapore. It has been proposed to run this program in two batches of 35 participants each. The joint proposal made by Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Hon. Ranjith Maddumabandara, Minister of Public Administration and Management, to enter into a MoU with the government of Singapore in the above field during the visit of the Hon. Prime Minister to Singapore scheduled for next month, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
02. Continuation of the Anti-corruption Committee Secretariat (ACCS) (Document No - 08)
The ACCS was established on a decision made by the Cabinet in 2015 to receive and facilitate complaints on serious fraud and corruption. It has been proposed to restructure the anti-corruption institutional structure of the country and to establish a fully-powered Serious Fraud Office which is similar to the Serious Frauds Office in UK. The proposal made by Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, to continue the operations of the ACCS until a new institutional structure is introduced, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
03. Annual Bus Fares Revision - 2016 (Document No - 15)
The authority of revising bus fares based on relevant criteria with ideas of private bus owners associations has been granted to the National Transport Commission and a policy for revision of bus fares was prepared and implemented by the said commission in 2002. Bus Owners Associations have claimed that the policies and criteria on bus fares revision should be amended to suit present day needs. Considering the request, the proposal made by Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, to appoint a Committee of Intellectuals to review policies and criteria made in 2002 with the view of providing a better public transportation, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
04. Establishment of a Sri Lankan Consulate General Office in Nicosia, Cyprus (Document No - 16)
Diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and Cyprus were established in 1963 and the Ambassador of Rome has been concurrently accredited to Cyprus. In addition, the Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in Nicosia is attending to essential consular and labor issues in Cyprus at present. With the view of promoting employment opportunities and to ensure the welfare needs of about 20000 to 25000 migrant workers in Cyprus, there is a need to establish a Career Consulate General Office in Nicosia. Accordingly, the proposal made by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to establish a Consulate General Office in Nicosia Cyprus to promote trade, investment, employment and educational opportunities and to ensure the welfare of migrant employees, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
05. Amendment of the Sri Lanka Social Security Board act (Document No - 18)
The main role of the Social Security Board established under the Sri Lanka Social Security Board Act No. 17 of 1996 is to establish the pension and social security benefits schemes for those who are engaged in self employment. Therefore, such schemes are implemented by the above board and persons of 18-59 ages can contribute in them. By 31.03.2016 there were 497,102 contributory members and 22,973 pensioners who obtain a monthly pension. The proposal made by Hon. S.B Dissanayake, Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare, to amend the above act to include private sector employees, professionals, artistes, indigenous medical practitioners, foreign employees, persons engaged in agricultural and fishing activities as contributory members and to amend the age limit of obtaining membership, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
06. Introducing ‘After working hours cardio-thoracic surgery’ at Lady Ridgway Hospital (Document No - 21)
It is estimated that approximately 2500 to 3000 children are born annually with congenital heart defects in Sri Lankan and around 2000 children out of them will need corrective surgery. Around 900 paediatric cardiothoracic surgeries are done in Lady Ridgeway Hospital and few are done in Karapitiya and Sri Jayewardenepura Hospitals. There are thousands of patients in waiting lists and most of them succumb to their illness or develop irreversible complications while waiting for surgery. Facilities, equipment, and services of specially trained staff of this hospital are being underutilized, as surgeries are not performed after 4.00 pm on weekdays and weekends. "After working hours surgeries&" have been approved last year for acceleration of cardiothoracic surgeries. The 'Gift of Life International' a Rotarian-based organization that helps underprivileged children to receive treatment for their heart diseases has agreed to fund the after working hours surgery by paying US$ 1000 per case. The proposal made by Hon. Rajitha Senarathne, Minister of Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, to perform after working hour surgery using said funds, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
07. Toll free number allocation for the emergency response centre of the emergency pre-hospital care ambulance service in Sri Lanka (Document No - 22)
Most of the hospitalizations and deaths in Sri Lanka are caused by accidents and medical emergencies that involve mainly the economically productive population of the country. Emergency treatment in a short period of time could prevent many of these deaths, disabilities and morbidities. The Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine with the participation of GVK EMRI institute in India is to establish a Pre- hospital Care Ambulance Service in this regard. An Emergency Response Centre should be established to coordinate in an emergency and it should be allocated a toll free number which can be easily kept in mind. Accordingly, the proposal made by Hon. Rajitha Senarathne, Minister of Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, to denote the 1990 short code allocated to Emergency Response Centre as a toll free number, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
08. Recognition of National Vocational Qualifications for Employment Opportunities (Document No - 28)
Many countries in the world have implemented a National Qualifications Framework to recognize learning capacity and qualifications gained by a student. Sri Lanka has two qualifications frameworks as the Sri Lanka Qualification Framework, regarding qualifications awarded by higher educational institutions and the National Vocational Qualifications Framework developed by Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission. However, recruitments are not made so far considering only the National Vocational Qualification. Though all the students are unable to show educational/academic skills, some may build up specializations in various fields by engaging in occupations. Hence, the proposal made by Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training, to issue a circular by the Ministry of Public Administration and Management, to the effect that NVQ level 3 and NVQ level 4 certificates are equal to passing GCE Ordinary Level Examination and GCE Advanced Level Examination respectively for the purpose of recruitment in a relevant field, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
09. Agreement between Sri Lankan and Ukraine on trade and economic cooperation (Document No - 29)
The proposal made by Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, to enter into an agreement with the Government of Ukraine for the establishment of Intergovernmental Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation with the view of finding new opportunities, expansion of trade in goods and services, information exchange, trade disputes settlement, facilitating trade operations, business cooperation for strengthening trade, economic and technological relations between Sri Lanka and Ukraine, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
10. Implementation of Action Plan to the National Policy Framework for SME development in Sri Lanka (Document No - 30)
The proposal made by Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce, to implement the Action Plan to the National Policy Framework for SME development in Sri Lanka prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce with the assistance of relevant parties, and to establish a SME Advisory Council and an Inter-ministerial Coordinating Body for its continuation and to restructure the SME Development Authority established under the act No. 17 of 2006, and to guide relevant line ministries and agencies, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
11. Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration for Western Region Megapolis Development Activities with Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport of the Republic of Korea (Document No - 37)
The key strategy for acceleration of the economic development of the country is the Western Region Megapolis and international specialized cooperation is required for its many projects. Accordingly, the proposal made by Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, to sign a MoU between the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development in Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in Korea with the view of preparation of a formal framework for cooperation, facilitating efforts with mutual benefit, implementation of certain fields of the Western Megapolis Development Project through detailed planning, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
12. Implementation of the Smallholder Tea and Rubber Revitalization (STARR) project (Document No - 40)
The proposal made by Hon. Navin Dissanayake, Minister of Plantation Industries, to implement the STARR project within the six years from 2016-2021 at an total cost of US$ 65.4 million with the contribution of International Fund for Agricultural Development, Government of Sri Lanka, Government Banks and Private Sector and beneficiaries with the objectives of re-plantation of small scale tea and rubber estates, uplifting the living status and improving income of beneficiaries, crop diversification in tea and rubber estates, capacity building and promotion of business capabilities of beneficiaries, improvement of rural financial and loans supply services, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
13. Reactivation of Thikkam Distilleries under the Palmyrah Development Board (Document No - 44)
Palmyra tree, which has a high economic potentiality and bounded with the culture of the Northern and Eastern Provinces are currently being underutilized. Even in toddy seasons, tapping of toddy was restricted due to lack of facilities. About 7,500 members of Palm Development Cooperative Societies are engaged in tapping of toddy. The Thikkam Distilleries was established in 1984 with the view of producing quality alcohol and other products using excess toddy stocks and the proposal made by Hon. D.M. Swaminathan, Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs, to reactivate the Thikkam Distilleries at an estimated cost of Rs. 112.5 million with the view of improving the living standards of toddy tapping community and people depending on palm industry, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
14. Agreement between the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade of Sri Lanka and The Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic on mutual cooperation (Document No - 48)
Czech Republic is a highly industrialized country with a developed market economy. Total value of annual exports to Czech Republic by Sri Lanka including garments and tea is around US$ 50 million while Sri Lankan imports from Czech Republic stands around US$ 10 million. Accordingly, the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade in Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Czech Republic has entered into an agreement on mutual cooperation with the objectives of expansion of bilateral trade and economic relations, identification of economic and investment opportunities in the two countries, promoting close trade and industrial cooperation by establishing relations between entrepreneurial institutions of two countries, and the Cabinet of Ministers has granted the covering approval in this regard.
15. Procurement for supply, installation and commissioning of Diagnostic X-Ray Units (Document No - 50)
Installation of new equipment and reinstallation of equipment older than 10 years is required to provide improved healthcare services. Therefore, the proposal made by Hon. Rajitha Senarathne, Minister of Health Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, to award the above tender according to the recommendations made by the Cabinet Appointed Standing Procurement Committee, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
16. Renovation of Places of Religious worship damaged due to earthquake in Nepal (Document No - 52)
The Cabinet has already granted the approval to renovate the Ananda Kuti Buddhist Temple and Ratho Machchindranath Hindu Kovil damaged by the earthquake in Nepal. The proposal made by Hon. Wijayadasa Rajapaksa, Minister of Buddhasasana, to select a suitable contractor through calling for tenders restricted to Nepali and Sri Lankan bidders and to make arrangements to send Technicians of Engineering Services Corps of Sri Lanka Army to Nepal to supervise the constructions at least once in 06 months, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
17. Upgrading of the National Fish Fishing Fleet to increase offshore fish production and enhance the quality of fish landings (Document No - 55)
Though SRI Lanka has made many efforts in developing the fisheries industry, it could not gain the maximum use of fisheries resources in the deep sea as most of multi-day fishing vessels out of 4,000 are of 30-40 feet long and with limited travelling distance and low capacity in storage. The proposal made by Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, to provide 10 new fishing vessels of 55 feet long to fishermen with 50% concessions by the government and to improve 50 vessels operated in Sri Lankan seas and 50 vessels in international seas with the cooperation of Ceynor Foundation Ltd, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
18. Purchasing fiberglass fishing equipment including fishing vessels, fishing boxes, and pallets manufactured by Ceynor Foundation Ltd (Document No - 56)
It is a priority task of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development to provide required applications for the fisheries industry and its expected outcomes are assist fisherman who face difficulties due to expensive fisheries applications, introduction of effective, productive and environmental friendly methods, provision of safe and lifesaving equipment, minimizing accidents in sea and minimizing crop damages. Many of the equipment used in fisheries industry are manufactured by the Ceynor Foundation Ltd, a government owned company, and the government has made a large investment in this regard. Therefore, the proposal made by Hon. Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, to directly purchase fishing vessels, fishing applications and equipment from the Ceynor Foundation Ltd, purchased by the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, and other government institutions to be distributed among fishermen, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
19. Establishment of District, Divisional and Rural Housing Committees (Document No - 57)
District Housing Committees in District Level, Divisional Housing Committees in Divisional Secretary Division levels and Rural Housing Committees in Rural Level have been established for the successful and productive implementation of all island wide housing development programs including “Shelter for All” National Housing Development Program. These Committees are being implemented under the supervision of the Ministry of Housing and Construction and National Housing Development Authority and with the cooperation of other relevant ministries and institutions. The above information presented by Hon. Sajith Premadasa, Minister of Housing and Construction, was considered by the Cabinet of Ministers.
20. Introduction of light rail transit system in the western region of Sri Lanka with JICA Assistance (Document No - 58)
The Western Region Megapolis Plans have given its priority for solving transport issues in the region and it has identified that improvement of public transport modes, development of road infrastructure, management of transport demand and environmentally sustainable transportation is crucial in this regard. The most suitable solution to present transport demand of the Megapolis region is identified as the Light Train Transit and accordingly seven routs have been identified in this regard. The proposal made by Hon. Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development, to obtain the assistance of JICA to conduct its feasibility Report and immediately commence the construction of Colombo Fort – Kollupitiya – Bambalapitiya – Union Place Maradana route and Borella – Malabe route, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
21. Implementation of the Social Security Network Project (Document No - 59)
There is no method of identifying whether the benefits of social security programs are being directed to the suitable communities as there is no connection with various social security programs such as "Divi Neguma" Rapidly Ageing Population and obtaining the contribution of low income persons to the economy are the severe challenges faced by social security field of the country. The proposal made by Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs, to implement the Social Security Network Project that connects all social security programs that enables to select most suitable persons in a transparent manner, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.