Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday joined in the criticism against remarks by a senior member of the Buddhist Clergy, calling on former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to “be like Hitler”, saying he would have condemned the statement immediately if it had been made in his presence.
The 4th International Day of Yoga organized by the High Commission of India was celebrated under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the Independence Square in Colombo, today (23).The President also presented 15 certificates to Yoga teachers.
Parliamentarians Chamal Rajapaksa, Rauff Hakeem and Vijitha Herath had been named to the newly-appointed committee to be in charge of Constitutional Affairs, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced yesterday.
President Maithripala Sirisena expressed reservations yesterday over the huge profits recorded annually by state banks established to serve the local industries, the agriculture sector and save the rural people from loan sharks. He questioned whether the state banks served the purported objectives laid down when they were established by collecting 100% profits or more annually.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe launching ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ and ‘Gamperaliya’ (Village Transformation) programmes yesterday, said the next 18 months would see accelerated development of the economy. “When we took over in 2015, the Government could not afford to pay its own loans but after three years of proper fiscal management, we are in a position to provide loans to our people,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said at the launch held at the BMICH.
He stressed that the Government which had steered through choppy waters to bring economic stability was now looking to expand economic opportunities. “Now we need investment, increase exports and more importantly improve spending power- people need money in their hands”.
“The Enterprise Sri Lanka scheme which encompasses 15 loan schemes for various sectors including agriculture, women and small industry, will be an impetus to improve the capacity and skills of entrepreneurs,” the Prime Minister said.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy but rising interest rates discourage many from taking loans to expand. Hence, these Government loans where the Government will take on the burden of paying the majority of the interest, is expected to encourage entrepreneurs to take the risks,” he added. The Prime Minister also explained that the Government will monthly monitor whether the loans have reached the right people and whether they are using them effectively.
Speaking at another function held in Boralesgamuwa earlier, the Premier said an export oriented economy will strengthen Sri Lanka’s working and middle classes. An export economy will attract investment, generate income and people will have more money in their hands, he said.
He said that in order to strengthen the working and middle classes, rapid urbanization is a must. The government shall not allow such projects to drag on. “When the Government increased certain taxes, everybody blamed us. Even now the same accusations are hurled at us. We have given directions to the Finance Minister to check whether any injustice is being done to any quarter owing to taxation. However much some people level baseless allegations against us, the Government must find money to pay the debts. We have come a long way surpassing all these difficulties,” he pointed out
President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday took serious exception to a top Buddhist monk urging former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to take over the country as a Hitler-type military dictator. President Sirisena said as a Buddhist he had the highest respect for the clergy, but could not agree with a senior monk of the Asgiriya chapter who invited Rajapaksa to “be a Hitler, take the military and take power.”
Parliament yesterday unanimously passed the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (Special Provisions) Bill with amendments. The Bill provides for the absorption of medical students registered with the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) to the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University.
Director General of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) said that they were ready to provide required technical assistance in utilizing satellite technology to reduce the impact of climate change on Sri Lanka’s rice production.
The book “Hela Wari Purawatha” published by the Mahaweli Centre including the facts ranging from the starting of Sri Lankan Irrigation to Moragahakanda Development Project was presented to President Maithripala Sirisena at President’s office yesterday(19th). The book is composed as a collection of contribution of 25 erudite authors who hold expertise of relevant fields of subjects.