April 08, 2020
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    Decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held on 04.03.2020 Featured

    March 05, 2020

    1 Preparation and implementation of a ‘National Financial Inclusion Strategy’ for
    improvement of the financial inclusiveness of Sri Lanka.


    Financial inclusiveness is the capability of obtaining formal financial services whenever subject
    to a bearable cost to all the individuals and entrepreneurs in the society. The proposed National
    Financial Inclusion Strategy expects to provide opportunity for all the citizens to access
    payments, savings, loans, insurance as well as financial tools and services such as pensions.
    The National Financial Inclusion Strategy as well as the action plan for that has been prepared
    for enhancing the financial inclusiveness of Sri Lanka with the contribution of the relevant
    stakeholders by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. The proposal made by the Hon. Prime Minister
    as the Minister of Finance, Economic and Policy Development for implementation of the
    proposed action plan of financial inclusion strategy was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

     

     


    2 Transferring the Bodhi complex of Kaluthara to Kaluthara Bodhi Trust Board as a free
    grant.

     


    Seven plots of land of approximately 7 ½ acres in extent developed by Kaluthara Bodhi Trust
    have been entrusted by the Department of Land Commissioner’s on three long term lease
    agreements while the Kaluthara Bodhi Trust has tabled another request to the said Department
    for obtaining another plot of land on lease. It has been apparent that entrusting those plots of
    lands to Kaluthara Bodhi Trust Board is an assistance since all these lands given on lease have
    been properly developed and it would be an assistance for the development of the shrine
    premises too. Therefore it is apparent that the lands are suitable to be transferred as a free grant.
    Therefore the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal submitted by the Hon Minister of
    Bhuddha Sasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs for entrusting the Kaluthara Bodhi Trust Board
    that is given on long term lease basis with the said plots of lands as one free grant while the
    other plots of lands already are enjoyed by the Board after development to be given on a long
    term lease basis subject to take them back without any compensation if required for the
    development purposes of the area.
    3 Establishment of a permanent institutional framework for safeguarding and promoting
    the intangible cultural heritages in Sri Lanka.

     

    The ‘International Convention for Securing the Intangible Cultural Heritages’ has been
    published in year 2003 with the objective of securing intangible cultural heritages for the
    generations to come while Sri Lanka has agreed to the Convention in the year 2008. Sri Lanka
    is bound by the provisions of the International Convention appearing above for securing,
    promoting and preparation of an appropriate access for them in front of the challenges created
    due to westernizing, globalization, commercialization as well as the inevitable changes taken
    place in regard to these intangible heritages while they comprised of the social rituals,
    exhibitions, publications, knowledge, skills, cultural spaces and the related goods and
    equipment.
    Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal tabled by the Hon Prime Minister as
    the Minister of Buddha Sasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs for establishment of a special
    unit to act in relation to the intangible cultural heritages under the purview of the Ministry since
    it has been a difficult barrier to implement the provisions of the above convention immediately
    due to having no precise institution assigned for this purpose.

     


    4 Commemoration of 175 th anniversary of Sri Lanka State Asian Association


    Sri Lanka Asian Foundation established in 1845 by the British colonial government at that
    period has assisted in the government activities during the colonial era by forwarding
    recommendations applicable through conducting academic researches and analyzing
    information on the historical and cultural background of the rural community while identifying
    the development and investment probability of this country as well as preparation of the
    colonial administration structure accordingly. This institution has been a pioneering institution
    during the British colonial era while the Governor had been the elected patron of the
    association by his office. Further to that, most renowned intellects such as Sir Ponnambalam
    Arunachalam, H. C. P. Bell, Paul E. Pieris, P. E. P. Deraniyagala, Senarath Pranavithana, G. C.
    Mendis, C. E. Godakumbura, G. P. Malalasekara had been active members of the association.
    175 th anniversary of this foundation was celebrated on 07 th February this year and in
    commemoration of that, a special programme has been organized. Therefore, the Cabinet of
    Ministers approved the proposal tabled by the Hon Prime Minister as the Minister of Buddha
    Sasana, Cultural and Religious Affairs for allocating Rupees 15 million spent for covering the
    cost spent for this special programme for evaluating the specific mission carried out and the
    role played by this association for the development of the country.


    5 Supply of 150,000 domestic drinking water connections.

     

    The Water Supply and Drainage Board has already supplied supply water connections to 2.4
    million commuters covering 41% of the Sri Lankan population while newly supplying 110,000
    domestic drinking water connections. However, it has become difficult to supply the domestic
    drinking water connection in certain areas although there is an additional capacity since it has
    become compulsory to extend the pipe lines covering the roads / areas void of coverage from
    the existing pipe lines, the commuters have to pay approximately Rupees 20,000/- as a down
    payment as well as have to pay charges for renovating the motor ways.
    Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal tabled by the Hon Prime Minister as
    the Minister of Urban, Water Supply and Housing Facilities for launching an accelerated
    programme for supplying 150,000 new domestic water supply connections during the first two
    quarters of the year 2020 by taking steps required for eradicating constrains.

     


    6 Allocating the lands belong to the Urban Development Authority for development.

     


    The Cabinet of Ministers in their decision on 07 th February 2013 has declared to entrust the
    authority of issuing approval for rental / lease of lands not more than one acre within the district
    of Colombo and not more than two acres out of Colombo belong to Urban Development
    Authority to the Management Board of the Authority. Accordingly, the observations /
    information submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by the Hon Prime Minister as the Minister of
    Urban, Water Supply and Housing Facilities in relation to the progress pertaining to 23 plots of
    land released within the period from 2016 to 2019 with the approval of the Hon Subject
    Minister by virtue of the powers vested in him as per section 18 (1) of the Urban Development
    Authority No. 41 of 1978 subsequent to the approval of the Board of Management of the
    Urban Development Authority.


    7 Further extending the operations of Sri Lanka International Arbitration Centre


    The Cabinet of Ministers have given their consent in the year 2012 for the establishment of Sri
    Lanka International Arbitration Centre as a zonal centre for solving issues that arise in relation
    to international commercial agreements and other international relations. In furtherance to that,
    the Cabinet of Ministers have approved the centre to be established as a company limited by co
    – lateral while in 20.12.2016, Sri Lanka International Arbitration Centre (Guarant) Limited
    company was incorporated / established.
    Some countries are on to earn a considerable income from international arbitration centres
    while Sri Lanka would harvest the market by encouraging arbitration matters in the commercial
    activities between the countries within the zone by establishing an international arbitration
    centre in Sri Lanka too. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal tabled by the

     

    Minister of Justice, Human Rights and Legal Reforms for maintaining Sri Lanka International
    Arbitration Centre independent to further.
    In addition to that, the Cabinet of Ministers decided the clause that the arbitration should be
    performed by Sri Lanka International Arbitration Centre should be included when the
    government institutions include the arbitration clauses in their agreements.

     

    8 Construction of permanent houses with new technology concrete panels for those affected


    by the riots / conflict occurred in both Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka
    The Cabinet of Ministers have given their consent earlier to construct 28,000 housing units with
    low income (expenditure per house will be Sri Lankan Rupees 1,280,000) concrete panel
    houses and 7,000 houses as its first phase with Calicut tiles in the northern and eastern
    provinces gravely affected by the conflict.
    However, the General Treasury has taken necessary steps to obtain a term loan grant from the
    Bank of Ceylon for the construction of 1,000 housing unit at the initiation due to failure to find
    finance for the expected project. Accordingly, the information submitted to the Cabinet of
    Ministers by the Minister of Community Empowerment and Estate Infrastructure Development
    informing that agreements have been signed with YAPKA Development (PVT) Ltd who has
    been selected for construction of 1,000 housing units utilizing the loan grant mentioned above
    and that the project was inaugurated on the 21 st January 2020 has been brought into the
    attention of the Cabinet of Minister.


    9 Regulation of issuing television and broadcasting licenses.


    Licenses are being issued for private broadcasting stations in terms of the provisions of Sri
    Lanka Broadcasting Cooperation Act No. 37 of 1966 and Sri Lanka Rupavahini Cooperation
    Act No. 6 of 1982 for maintaining broadcasting and telecasting licenses. Accordingly, 27
    private broadcasting licenses and 54 private television licenses have been issued by now
    whereas only 18 broadcasting licenses and 28 telecasting licenses are in operation by now. The
    requirement of a respective institution for acting for both media of broadcasting and telecasting
    has been urged by a committee appointed for studying on the process applicable to issuance of
    licenses while a draft bill has been forwarded under the caption “Broadcasting Regulatory
    Commission”. Accordingly the Cabinet of Ministers has approved the proposal submitted by
    the Minister of Information and Mass Media for the appointment of a Committee comprised of
    experienced intellects of the field to table recommendations subsequent to further reviewing the

     

    bill, to see for the capability of getting done the issuance of licenses for broadcasting and
    telecasting by amending the provisions of Sri Lanka Telecommunication Regulatory
    Commission by the same Commission.


    10 Enhancement of the main broadcasting complex of the Independent Television network
    which is the first television channel in Sri Lanka and stationing in a new venue.


    The Independence Television Network has been inaugurated on the 05 th of June 1979 as the
    first television channel of Sri Lanka while its main control studio is maintained in its first
    building for the past 40 years. A new building complex has been completed for the main
    control studio complex by now. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers have approved the proposal
    of the Minister of Information and Mass Media for taking measures applicable to initiate the
    studio in the new building equipped with modern technology digital transmission equipment.


    11 Preparation of a national fertilizer policy


    Necessary provisions have been formulated for import, production, preparation and distribution
    of fertilizer by the act to formalize the Fertilizer Act No 68 of 1988. The said act has not been
    revised up to now and it has been a notable obstacle for the advancement of the said sector due
    to having no formal national fertilizer policy declaration up to now although measures have
    been taken to update the act already. Accordingly, the proposal submitted by the Minister of
    Mahaveli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development to the Cabinet of Ministers for the
    appointment of a Committee comprised of intellects in the fields for drafting a National
    Fertilized Policy and for preparation of a final draft obtaining views of the other relevant parties
    and the public on the draft prepared by that Committee.


    12 Food security for low income earning population


    Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was given at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held
    on 14 th January 2020 for the proposal submitted by His Excellency the President for the
    implementation of a programme under the caption “National Programme for the Alleviation of
    Poverty” for ensuring the food security through providing essential food rational for the poverty
    stricken population. Accordingly, the above programme has been planned to be implemented
    immediately according to the information tabled by the Minister of Internal Trade, Food
    Security and Consumer Welfare to which the Cabinet of Ministers paid attention. They were as
    follows:
     Providing an essential items food basket for ten hundred thousand / million beneficiaries
    including differently abled, widows, senior citizens without permanent income and sufferers
    from intense illnesses.

     

     Provision of a food basket worth Rs. 1,007.00 market price comprised of food including tea,
    Naadu rice, milk powder (normal), dhal (legumes) and dried fish / dried sprats / locally
    manufactured canned fish for a value of Rs. 500.00.
     Implementation of the programme with Lanka Sathosa, Co – operative sales network and a
    cluster of authorized trade outlets specially selected from rural areas.

    13. Bank Conservation and Removal contract of Silt in two Reservoirs in Jaffna Peninsula.


    The International Development Institute has provided and additional credit amount of Rs. 55 million
    under the strategic Urban Development Project. It is expected to utilize a part of this amount for the
    pilot project of Bank Conservation and Removal of Silt in Pilliyar Kovil Kulam and Thevar Kulam
    Reservoirs in Jaffna peninsula. Accordingly the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented
    by Hon. Minister of Urban development, Water Supply and Housing Facilities to award this contract to
    Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation for Rs. 113.04 million(VAT Free).


    14. Design and Build 1000 Housing Units at Stadiumgama


    The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by Hon. Prime Minister in his capacity as the
    minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Housing Facilities to award this contract to M/s
    Access Engineering PLC for Rs. 5,950.95 upon the recommendation of Procurement Appeals Board.
    15. Design and build 300 housing units at Obesekara Pura (Arunodaya Mawatha, Rajagiriya)
    The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by Hon. Prime Minister in his capacity as the
    minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Housing Facilities to award this contract to M/s
    Subasinghe Contractors (Pvt.) Ltd for Rs. 1,723.35 million on the basis of design and construction

    16. Construction Contract of multipurpose building of the Bhiksu University Sri Lanka


    The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the minister of Higher Education,
    Technology and Innovations to award this contract to Siridatta Construction Works and Darinton
    Constructions Pvt. Ltd joint venture for Rs. 384.41 million and the respective Value Added Tax.


    17. Construction Contract of the Multipurpose Building for the Faculty of Humanities and Social
    Sciences and the Department of the University of Sri Jayawardhanapura


    The Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the minister of Higher Education,
    Technology and Innovations to award this contract to International Construction Consortium (Pvt)Ltd
    for Rs. 1,183.86 million upon the recommendation of cabinet appointed standing procurement
    committee.


    18. Establishment of a State owned Property Development Institution

     

    Some of the luxurious hotels and tourism related assets are owned by the institutions such as Treasury,
    Employees Provident Fund, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Telecommunication Regulatory
    Commission and Bank of Ceylon. Hotels such as Grand Hyatt, Grand Oriental and Hilton and Lotus
    Tower Shopping Complex can be pointed out as examples.


    It has been proposed to create a Premium Real- Estate Portfolio by bringing such institutions under one
    unit and it is revealed that, incorporation of such assets has the potential to be further expansion of
    respective establishments in the future. Since it is not advisable to use state income or government
    borrowings to develop such property and assets, it will be easier to secure provisions through a high-
    asset institution like the proposed firm. Accordingly the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal
    presented by Hon. Prime Minister in his capacity as the minister of Finance, Economic and Policy
    Development to take necessary steps to take Canvil Group (Grand Hyatt), Hotel Developers (Pvt) Ltd
    (Hilton), Grand Oriental Hotels under one institution owned by the Treasury, Bank of Ceylon and Sri
    Lanka Insurance Corporation.

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