Dinesh Gunawardena: Latest News

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Dinesh Gunawardena - JICA to resume projects after IMF deal is finalized - newsfirst.lk - Japan - Usa - Sri Lanka
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JICA to resume projects after IMF deal is finalized
COLOMBO (News 1st); JICA is set to resume its ongoing projects in Sri Lanka no sooner the IMF package on debt restructuring finalized, said the Prime Minister's Media Division.Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena urged the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to recommence all the ongoing projects that are temporarily halted due to fiscal issues.He made this request when Director General of the South Asia Department of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Teruyuki Ito met him on Monday (20).Teruyuki Ito assured the Prime Minister that JICA projects would be resumed no sooner the debt restructuring programme is finalized by the International Monetary Fund.12 JAICA projects worth US$ 2.5 billion have been temporarily halted due to the fiscal crisis. The JICA delegation had expressed satisfaction over the progress in debt restructuring plans, in which Japan also played a major role.The Prime Minister thanked JICA Director General for the continuous assistance provided to Sri Lanka for several decades for water treatment, sewerage, sanitation and solid waste treatment projects in several cities and towns. He also requested JICA to provide assistance in new areas such as renewable energy and electrification of public transport and railways.Prime Minister Gunawardena also briefed the JICA delegation about the steps taken to improve transparency and accountability in project implementation by enacting required legislations as recommended by the Committee appointed by the President. He added that a Budget Act would be passed to ensure continuation of nationally important projects and policies despite change of governments in power.
Sajith Premadasa - Ranil Wickremesinghe - Dinesh Gunawardena - Sri Lanka’s President and PM issues statements to mark the 75th Independence Day - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka’s President and PM issues statements to mark the 75th Independence Day
Sri Lanka's President and Prime Minister issued statements to mark the 75th Independence Day.In his message, President Ranil Wickremesinghe says there is a new economic and social reform agenda before the country with the objectives focusing first on recovery and then on renewed development. The Head of State stated it is imperative for us to unite in its implementation so that we can emerge with a high level of economic prosperity. He pledged to make the extremely difficult though vital decisions to achieve this goal with courage and determination. Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in his message to mark the 75th Independence Day said "today, we not only celebrate our freedom, but also pay tribute to the ones who fought for it, to the ones who held a vision for our country, and to the ones who sacrificed themselves for the same." The Premier says the bravery, heroic acts as well as untold miseries suffered by our forefathers during their struggle for freedom of the Motherland must not be allowed to fade away from our memories.The Prime Minister adds the government has taken a series of measures to ensure recovery of the economy, and increase agricultural production to attain self-sufficiency and food security. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa also issued a statement to mark the 75th Independence Day. He stated "despite the fact that Sri Lanka has been independent for 75 years, we have failed to make that independence meaningful on national, social, educational, and religious levels."The Opposition Leader stated being trapped in "narrow chauvinism and communalism" is not the way to experience true freedom.
Dinesh Gunawardena - Modified multiday fishing vessel launched to reduce postharvest loss - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Modified multiday fishing vessel launched to reduce postharvest loss
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Ministry of Fisheries launched a modified multiday fishing vessel in Colombo to improve the quality of fish and reduce postharvest loss in the Fisheries sector.The FAO in a statment said that fish products are an important source of animal protein for Sri Lanka and the sector contributes about 1.1 percent to Sri Lanka’s GDP.  However, studies by the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) indicate that the fish quality loss in some harbours is at 60 – 70 percent.Some of the issues contributing to these losses include the lack of an adequate cooling system in multi-day fishing vessels that use weeks-old ice to maintain low temperatures and the captured harvest not being handled or stored properly by fishers, which reduces the quality of the overall harvest and damage the bottom layer of stored fish. To address this issue FAO, together with the Ministry of Fisheries and NARA, modified the design of a multi-day fishing vessel as a pilot project to introduce new boat designs that provide an economically viable solution to minimize the quality loss of fish harvests. By reducing the existing post-harvest losses, the investment for the proposed new design can be recovered within 3.5 years.The modified multi-day vessel features a pilot coolant system in fish holds and storage as well as a modified fish holding facility to minimize the physical damage to fish due to overload.
Dinesh Gunawardena - Sri Lanka amends mandatory retirement age for doctors - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka amends mandatory retirement age for doctors
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lanka has decided to amend the age for the manadatory requirement of doctors.An extraordinary gazette citing the amendments was issued by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in his capacity as the Minister of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government.The provisions of the extraordinary gazette are as follows:(a) Sending the Medical Officers on retirement, who have already completed the age of 63 years, before 31st December 2022.(b) Sending Medical Officers on retirement, who have already completed the age of 62 years, on completion of 63 years of age.(c) Sending Medical Officers on retirement, who have already completed the age of 61 years, on completion of 62 years of age.(d) Sending Medical Officers on retirement, who have already completed the age of 60 years, on completion of 61 years of age.(e) Sending Medical Officers on retirement, who have already completed the age of 59 years, on completion of 60 years of age.However, the Medical Consultants, Government Medical Officers, Dental Surgeons and the registered Medical Officers of the Government whose birthday falls within the period from 1st of January to 30th of June should be given the opportunity to serve up to 30th June of the relevant year and sent on retirement and the Medical Consultants, Government Medical Officers, Dental Surgeons and the registered Medical Officers of the Government whose birthday falls within the period from 1st of July to 31st of December should be given the opportunity to serve up to 31st December of the relevant year and sent on retirement, noted the extraordinary gazette. 
Dinesh Gunawardena - Parliament committee says government trying to restructure domestic debt - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Parliament committee says government trying to restructure domestic debt
COLOMBO (News 1st) – It has been reported that the Sri Lankan government had taken a decision to restructure domestic debt.This was revealed in the first-ever report produced by the Sub-Committee in identifying short and medium-term programmes related Economic Stabilization of the National Council.Appointment of the Sub-Committee:The Resolution to constitute the National Council, moved by Dinesh Gunawardena, the Prime Minister was approved by Parliament on 20th of September 2022.According to the above Resolution, the National Council shall have general responsibilities and jurisdiction over three main areas. One of them is to agree on short and medium-term common minimum programmes in respect of the stabilization of the economy.At the first meeting of the National Council which was held on 29th of September 2022, the Secretary-General of Parliament, presenting the way forward of the Council, suggested to appoint a Sub-Committee to recognize short and mediumterm programmes for the stabilization of the economy. The members of the SubCommittee were announced as per the preferences indicated by them at the Second meeting of the National Council which was held on 6th of October 2022.The committee is chaired by Patali Champika Ranawaka and includes MPs Naseer Ahamed, Tiran Alles, Sisira Jayakody, Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan, Wajira Abeywardana,  A.
Sajith Premadasa - Chief Justice - Dinesh Gunawardena - Yapa Abeywardena - Siripala De-Silva - Applications called for civil society members for the Constitutional Council - newsfirst.lk
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Applications called for civil society members for the Constitutional Council
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Applications have been called for qualified persons regarding the appointment of civil society members for the Constitutional Council established under the 21st Amendment.Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena stated that the relevant applications should be forwarded to the Parliament before 28th November.Accordingly, those who are not members of any political party who are considered acclaimed personalities in the spheres of their public or professional lives and have functioned with excellence and honesty can apply for the position.A discussion was held at the Parliament Complex under the Chairmanship of the Speaker last week to discuss the establishment of the Constitutional Council.It was held with the participation of Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva who was appointed as the President's representative.The Constituent Assembly consists of 10 members, including the Speaker, the Prime Minister, the Opposition Leader, a member appointed by the President, a member representing the party representing the Prime Minister, a member of the party representing the Leader of the Opposition, a member of another political party representing Parliament and 3 civil society representatives.According to the 21st amendment, the Supreme Court judges headed by the Chief Justice, the President and judges of the Court of Appeal, the Attorney General, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Auditor General, the Inspector General of Police, the Secretary General of the Parliament, the Ombudsman of Parliamentary Affairs as well as the chairpersons and members for independent commissions should be appointed subject to the
Dinesh Gunawardena - Yapa Abeywardana - Report on restructuring energy sector within two weeks: Power Minister - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Report on restructuring energy sector within two weeks: Power Minister
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera informed the National Council that the report of the committee on to the restructuring of the energy sector will be submitted to the National Council within two weeks.At the same time, the Minister informed that the National Council is also expected to be informed about the proposed measures to be taken for the various energy generation projects proposed to be launched by the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority and the Ceylon Electricity Board.The National Council met on 20th October under the Chairmanship of the Speaker of the Parliament, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and the Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella.Institutions such as the Sri Lanka Electricity Board and Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority were called before the National Council where the officials presented ideas and proposals related to the progress of the energy sector.MP Namal Rajapaksa, as the Chairman of the National Council sub-committee on identifying short and medium-term programs related to National Policy, and the Chairman of the National Council sub-committee on identifying short and medium-term programs related to Economic Stabilization, Patali Champika Ranawaka informed the National Council about the progress and the expected future work of the committees.
Dinesh Gunawardena - PM wants ILO to help setup digital database for labor - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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PM wants ILO to help setup digital database for labor
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena requested the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to assist the government’s initiative to establish a digital database of the labor workforce in Sri Lanka. He pointed out that the Ministry of Labour has taken steps to establish a comprehensive digitalized database of the workforce and urged the ILO to assist in expediting the process.This was discussed when ILO Country Director Simrin C Singh and Senior Employment Specialist of ILO Headquarters, Sher Verick called on him at the prime Minister’s Office yesterday (13).The Prime Minister briefed them on the impact of the Covid pandemic and economic crisis on the labor workforce and the short-term and long-term steps taken by the government to recover the economy and to help the workers, especially the low-income labor force.Simrin Singh said despite some signs of positive trends, most developing countries including Sri Lanka are faced with difficulties due to the global recession, limited fiscal space, debt sustainability challenges, and rising inflation. She pointed out that these issues have resulted in a labor market crisis.Prime Minister Gunawardena stressed that the government was very keen to make the labor workforce upwardly mobile and explained the multitude of training programs launched for skill development. Increasing the quality and quantity of jobs is the surest way of moving people out of poverty, he said. Employment Specialist Sher Verick said that the founding principles of the ILO are concerned not only with ensuring sources of income, but also as a means for people to live a self-determined life, and for participating fully as citizens in their communities.Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment
Dinesh Gunawardena - Jeewan steps down from National Council - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Jeewan steps down from National Council
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Secretary of the Ceylon Worker's Congress, Parlimentarian Jeevan Thondaman has stepped down from the National Council.The Speaker says that M. Rameshwaram the Chairman of the Ceylon Worker's Congress has been appointed as his replacement. The Speaker also announced that MP Patali Champika Ranawaka was also included into the National Council.The resolution proposed by the Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to constitute the Parliamentary Committee called 'National Council' was passed in Parliament recently.The 'National Council’ is constituted to represent all the parties representing the Ninth Parliament from the recognized political parties of Sri Lanka.Presenting this proposal to Parliament on 20th September, the Prime Minister explained the authority and general responsibilities of the 'National Council'.One of them is the determine the general priorities of Parliament to guide the formulation of  short, medium, and long-term national policies.Another responsibility is to agree on short-term and medium-term common minimum programs related to economic stabilization.It is also tasked with organizing special meetings with the Ministers of the Cabinet, the National Council, the Chairperson of Special Committees and Youth Observers of Youth Organizations.The 'National Council' also has the power to summon reports from the Sectoral Oversight Committees, the Committee on Public Finance, the Committee on Public Accounts, the Committee on Public Enterprises and any committee that controls the Public finance.The National Council will consist of the Hon.
Dinesh Gunawardena - Prasanna Ranatunga - Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena - Dhammika Dasanayake - Susil Premajayantha - National Council appoints sub-committees on economy - newsfirst.lk
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National Council appoints sub-committees on economy
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The 'National Council' decided to form two sub-committees related to national policies and economic stabilization at the inaugural meeting held with the participation of the ruling party and the opposition.The purpose of setting up the Sub-Committee on National Policy is to set the common priorities of Parliament to guide the formulation of medium and long-term national policies. Also, the purpose of establishing the Sub-Committee on Economic Stabilization is to reach agreement on the short- and medium-term programs related to economic stabilization.These decisions were taken at the inaugural meeting of the 'National Council' held at the Parliament complex on Thursday (29) under the chairmanship of Speaker  Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena. Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Leader of the House Minister Susil Premajayantha, Chief Government Whip Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella, Minister  Tiran Alas were presented for the meeting.In addition, Members of Parliament Asanka Navaratne, Rauf Hakeem, Rishad Bathiudeen, Mano Ganesan, Palani Digambaram, Jeevan Thondaman, Sisira Jayakodi, Namal Rajapaksa, Johnston Fernando, Sagara Kariyawasam, Ali Sabri Rahim, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Vajira Abeywardena, Sivaneshthurai Chandrakanthan, Champika Ranawaka and several members of Parliament were present.Secretary General of Parliament Mr. Dhammika Dasanayake was also present at this meeting.Prime Minister Hon.
Dinesh Gunawardena - SJB, NPP, Dullas fail to nominate MPs to National Council - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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SJB, NPP, Dullas fail to nominate MPs to National Council
COLOMBO (News 1st); Members of Parliament have been nominated by the respective political parties to serve in the National Council.However, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, National People's Power, and the Dullas Alahapperuma faction did not nominate members to the National Council.National Council will consist of the Speaker of Parliament as the Chair, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House of Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, the Chief Government Whip and not more than thirty-five Members of Parliament representing the Ninth Parliament from recognised Political Parties in Sri Lanka as determined by the Leaders of the Political Parties.The resolution proposed by the Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to constitute the Parliament Committee called the “National Council” was passed in parliament without objection.The National Council will have the jurisdiction and general responsibilities in order to,(i) determine the general priorities of Parliament to guide the formulation of short, medium and long-term national policies(ii) agree on short and medium-term common minimum programs in respect of the stabilisation of the economy(iii) arrange special meetings with the Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, the National Council, the Chairpersons of the Special Committees and Youth observers of Youth OrganisationsThe National Council will be empowered to request reports from Sectoral Oversight Committees, Committee on Public Finance, Committee on Public Accounts, Committee on Public Enterprises, Committee on Banking and Financial Services, Committee on Ways and Means, Committee on Economic Stabilisation; and any committee controlling the public finance.
Dinesh Gunawardena - Harsha De-Silva - Parliament heats up over Finance Minister’s absence to address crises - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Parliament heats up over Finance Minister’s absence to address crises
COLOMBO (News 1st); Tensions erupted at the Sri Lankan Parliament on Thursday (10) over the absence of the country’s Finance Minister to address the crises affecting the island nation.Lakshman Kiriella, the Chief Opposition Whip representing the Samagi Jana Balavegaya stressed that it is the Parliament that decides on the finances, and yet, the Finance Minister has not made any comment to the house since the 10th of December 2021.He said almost all the sectors in Sri Lanka have been financially affected, and the absence of the Finance Minister to address these concerns can only mean that the country is bankrupt.Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, the Leader of the House demanded the MP withdraw these comments noting that the Finance Minister had in fact visited Parliament after the 2021 Budget debate.Responding to requests to summon the Finance Minister, the Speaker said he as the Chair of Parliament has no right to summon an MP or Ministers, adding that if an MP is absent from Parliament for more than three months, disciplinary action will be taken.Dr. Harsha De Silva, from the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, pointed out that the country’s foreign obligations are far greater than the foreign reserves maintained by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, and this in fact means the country is bankrupt.“We warned you to restructure the debt before servicing 500 Million Dollars.
Basil Rajapaksa - Dinesh Gunawardena - Surcharge Tax Bill will be amended; will NOT include EPF / ETF – AG tells SC - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Surcharge Tax Bill will be amended; will NOT include EPF / ETF – AG tells SC
COLOMBO (News 1st); The proposed Surcharge Tax Bill that was presented to Parliament, will be amended in a manner that will not include 13 funds, including the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and the Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF), Sri Lanka’s Attorney General told the Supreme Court on Wednesday (2).Additional Solicitor General Viveka Siriwardena told the Supreme Court that the Finance Secretary had informed the Attorney General in this regard in writing.The Samagi Jana Balavegaya, one of the main opposition factions in Sri Lanka has filed a special petition with the Supreme Court challenging the proposed Surcharge Tax Bill that was presented to Parliament, on the 23rd of February.The Government on 22nd February presented the proposed Surcharge Tax Bill to Parliament.The special application challenging the Bill seeks a Supreme Court ruling to term the Bill as inconsistent with the constitution.The Bill, which imposes a retrospective one-time surcharge tax of 25% on persons and companies with a taxable income over Rs. 2 billion for the year 2020/2021, was presented by Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on 22nd February.The Bill was drafted in keeping with the proposal in the 2022 Budget to impose a one-off 25% surcharge tax on individuals or companies earning taxable income more than Rs.
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