Cabinet Decisions

Ragging victims get second chance

The Government plans to implement a programme to readmit students who abandoned their higher studies due to extreme ragging at State universities and other government-owned educational institutions.

“The National Police Commission had said that during past 10 years, nearly 2,000 students who had entered university left due to extreme ragging by senior students,” said Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardane.

Estate workers’ daily wage raised

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided to raise the minimum daily wage of a plantation worker to Rs.1,000 from March 1, 2020, Co-Cabinet spokesman Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said. The Cabinet of Ministers who met on Tuesday approved the proposal made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to increase the daily wage of plantation workers.

National Programme for Poverty Elimination

Under the National Policy framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”, the Government has identified the elimination of poverty as a priority. Accordingly, the Cabinet has approved the proposal presented by the President to implement several proposals on a priority basis. These include providing 100,000 employment opportunities for 100,000 poor families, a housing program for poor families, easy access to loans giving priority to development of small enterprises, self-employment and household livelihood programmes.

Regulation of studies abroad

The tragic incident where three Sri Lankan students died in Azerbaijan reflects the long term crisis in the higher education sector, Co-Cabinet media spokesman and Information & Communications Technology, Higher Education, Technology & Innovations Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardane said. Addressing the weekly Cabinet media briefing, Minister Gunawardane said only 30,000 students annually qualified for higher education in State universities. “Around 20,000 students annually go abroad for higher education spending more than Rs 50 billion,” he said.

Construction of an environmental park

The Cabinet approved the proposal submitted by the Minister of Environment and Wildlife Resources for an environmental park within a land area of 200 acres belonging to the Divisional Secretariat Divisions of Anuradhapura, Thalawa, Naachchaduwa and Central Nuwaragama Palatha under the purview of the Department of Forest Conservation. National Intelligence Act

The national intelligence institutions in Sri Lanka render tremendous contributions in taking decisions and issuing recommendations for the prevention of activities that threaten national security; by forecasting their movements and preventing terrorist activities and other threats based on information revealed by their forecasts. Their recommendations during calamities have been integral to safeguard and secure national security.

Some intelligence activities are observed to have been limited due to lack of sufficient legal provisions required for assisting their operations that empower intelligence forces and regulate activities that take place in the field of intelligence force operations.

Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved the proposal tabled by the Minister of Mahaweli Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development; the Minister of Internal Trade, Food Security and Consumer Welfare; and the Minister of National Defence; to instruct the Legal Draftsman for the formulation of a draft bill to regulate and empower intelligence forces, covering all intelligence sectors, by giving top priority to national security.

Closure of National Agency for Public/Private Partnership

The National Agency for Public Private Partnership is implemented as a unit in the Ministry of Finance with a staff of approximately 20 officers and a consultancy board, along with the Secretary to the Ministry and other officers.

However, the maintenance of this agency is recognised to have no importance. Therefore, the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted to the proposal tabled by the Minister of Finance, Economy and Policy Development; to entrust the authority to the Secretary of the General Treasury for taking measures to close the said agency.

Acquisition of Negombo Base Hospital

The District Base Hospital of Negombo is situated in a strategical location closer to the Colombo – Katunayake Expressway, the Bandaranaike International Airport, and the free trade zone of Katunayake. This hospital treats residents of the area, overseas tourists, as well as naval passengers.

The dengue prevention/management centre of this hospital has been named as the best hospital for the clinical management of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever. The operation of this hospital has been identified to be appropriate under the direct supervision of the line minister, in order to further strengthen its facilities.

Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved the proposal submitted by the Minister of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, to acquire this hospital under the purview of the Western Provincial Ministry of Health under the central government.

Amending Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is acting as a member of the Board of Trustees that governs the funds of the Mahapola Higher Education Trust Fund.

The Chief Justice, as well as the Committee on Public Enterprises, has proposed that it is appropriate to detach the Chief Justice from the governing board of the Trust as it would be an obstacle to enter into an independent decision on a legal matter pertaining to the Trust Fund.

Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved the proposal submitted by the Minister of Higher Education, Technology and Innovations; to amend the Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund act No. 66 of 1981, so that the members of Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund could be appointed appropriately.

Implementation of Kandy Bypass Tunnel Project

The construction of a bypass tunnel has been identified to be appropriate as a remedy to the highway traffic congestion prevailing in the Kandy urban limits.

Although it has been planned to implement the Kandy bypass tunnel construction with the funds furnished by the Korean Economic Development Fund, it has so far been delayed.

The total estimated cost of this project is USD 252.30 million, of which the Korean Economic Development Fund has agreed to fund USD 199.27.

Accordingly, the Minister of Roads and Highways forwarded a proposal to inaugurate procurement activities related to the construction project of this bypass tunnel, to which the Cabinet of Ministers has given approval.

Construction of environmental park in Thalawa

The Anuradhapura District, where local and foreign tourists visit throughout the year, is an area fortified with natural resources such as forests and wildlife while enriched with mesmerising paddy fields and irrigation reservoirs that add marvel to the environs of the area.

The possibility of utilising these resources is available to enhance tourism while leading to the attraction of more and more foreign tourists into the country.

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved the proposal submitted by the Minister of Environment and Wildlife Resources, for initialising an environmental park comprised of local animals within a land area of 200 acres belong to the Divisional Secretariat Divisions of Anuradhapura, Thalawa, Naachchaduwa, and Central Nuwaragama Palatha, under the purview of the Department of Forest Conservation.

Enhancement of Seethawaka general waste water refinery

The Seethawaka export processing zone, which was inaugurated in year 1999, was entrusted to the Sri Lanka Investment Board in 2001. This zone is comprised of 28 industrial entrepreneurs and has generated 23,300 employment opportunities.

Although the capacity of the general waste water refinery existing at present within the zone is 9,500 cubic meters, the factories therein release approximately 12,400 cubic metres of waste matter, daily.

Since the existing refinery of waste water is insufficient for the requirement of refining waste water that is released in the zone, it has been identified that the capacity of the existing refinery should be increased with immediate effect in order to circumvent possible environmental and health-hazardous situations.

Accordingly, the approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted to the proposal submitted by the Minister of Industrial Exports and Investment Promotion, to enhance the capacity of the general waste water refinery by 15,000 cubic metres per day in Seethawaka export processing zone.

Supplying laboratory equipment

Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was given to the proposal submitted by the Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Services, to award the contract of supplying 17 laboratory equipment utilised for ensuring the security of body parts used in transplants to Ms. Emar Phama (Pvt.) Ltd. at a cost of Rs.188.82 million (without VAT), subject to the recommendation of the Standing Procurement Committee appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Supplying HLA molecule experiment reactors

Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted to the proposal submitted by the Minister of Health and Indigenous Medicine Services, for awarding the contract of supplying HLA molecule experiment reactors utilised for ensuring security of body parts transplant to Ms. Emar Phama (Pvt.) Ltd., for an amount of Rs.230.69 million (without VAT), subject to the recommendation of the Standing Procurement Committee appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Procurement of fertiliser

Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was given to the proposal submitted by the Minister of Mahaweli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development; to award contract of the procurement to supply 15,000 metric tonnes of urea for Lanka Fertilizer Co. Ltd. and Colombo Commercial Fertiliser Co. Ltd., in terms of the recommendation of the Standing Procurement Committee appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers; for an amount USD 4.4 million, at a cost of USD 279.68 per metric tonne to Amaropa Asia Private Limited.

Closure of Policy Development Office

Since it has been decided to implement a programme to recruit suitable individuals for every sector in the state service as per the government policy statement “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”, it has been identified that there is no requirement of further maintaining the policy development office established under the Prime Minister’s Office in the year 2015.

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved the proposal submitted by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, Economic and Policy Development, to close the said office.

Loan relief package for small, medium-scale entrepreneurs

The small and medium-scale entrepreneurs of the country are confronted with severe issues due to difficulty in obtaining fresh loans for expanding their businesses, the payment of various chargers, and additional interest for loans inactive or frozen due to the inability to continuous payment of loans obtained, and the auctioning of their properties by banks.

Considering the complex tax policies and bank regulations imposed during the previous regime, the new government’s “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” policy framework has suggested a cluster of proposals for uplifting the enterprise sector while paying special attention to small and medium-scale enterprises of the country which have hit the ground.

Therefore, the President has already issued orders to all banks to suspend the legal measures taken for recovering loans that have been left unpaid.

As the second step, the proposal submitted by the Minister of Finance, Economy and Policy Development as a ‘loan concessionary package’ for providing a concessionary period up to December 31, 2020; subject to a written request made by the loan borrower for payment of the preliminary amount of money of the loan existing active for a long time at December 31, 2019; obtained from licensed banks by the small and medium scale businesses and for extending the pay-back period of active loans, as well as to suspend all the legal actions pertaining to recovery of loans that are inactive and to write off the total penalty while providing a loan amount as working capital freshly subject to concessionary conditions for initiation of bankrupt businesses due to failure of loan settlement; was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Demise of three Sri Lankan students in Azerbaijan

The Cabinet of Ministers were informed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, that the precautionary measures were being taken in coordination with the Sri Lankan Embassy of Azerbaijan in Tehran and the University of Western Caspian in Azerbaijan by Sri Lankan mission situated in Tehran; to bring the bodies of the two Sri Lankan female students who passed away due to a fire which erupted in an apartment in the city of Baaku, the Capital of Azerbaijan, on January 9, 2020, to Sri Lanka, considering it as an emergency requirement.

Additionally, the Cabinet of Ministers gave its consent to the proposal submitted by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to bear an amount of Rs.1.5 million to bring the bodies to the country.

National Program for the elimination of poverty

Under the National Policy Framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”, the Government has identified the elimination of poverty in the country as high priority for appropriate large-scale development in the country.

The development goals identified by the National Policy Framework are compatible with the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations. Accordingly, with the intention of eliminating poverty in the country, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the President, to implement following proposals on priority basis:

  • Implementation of food security programmes by providing essentials to low-income people.
  • The Programme of providing 100,000 employment opportunities to 100,000 poor families.
  • Prompt implementation of housing projects for poor families under the “One House, One Village” programme.
  • Implementation of a 100,000km Rural Road Development Programme.
  • To provide easy access to loans, giving priority to the development of small enterprises, self-employment, household needs, and household livelihood programmes.

Measures to ensure continuous petroleum supply

The Minister of Power and Energy informed the Cabinet of Ministers regarding the measures that have been taken by the Ministry of Power and Energy, together with Sri Lanka Petroleum Corporation and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited, to maintain fuel stocks in case of a fuel shortage in the country due to the current international political conflicts.

Implementation of Wages Proposals in Plantation Sector

The National Policy Framework “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour” states that employees in the plantation sector will be paid a minimum wage of Rs.1,000 per day.

Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by the President, to pay Rs.1,000 minimum wage to plantation sector employees with effect from March 1.



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