Home » Sri Lanka News Update Today » Local News Today » Local » Cabinet Decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on 18.03.2020

Cabinet Decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on 18.03.2020

1. Acquisition of 200 acre lands in order to establish an Air Force Camp in Maththala Rajapkshe Airport (MRIA)

Sri Lanka Air Force provides security to all Airports in Sri Lanka. Mattala Rajapaksha Airport is considered as a strategically important airport in the Indian Ocean Region and an Air Force Camp which is similar to the camp operated in Katunayake Bandaranayake International Airport is required to be set up therein. Considering the proposal presented by the Minister of Mahaweli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural development and Minister of Food Security and Consumer Welfare, the cabinet of Ministers decided to allocate adjoining land 200 acre in extent for this purpose.

2. Dissolution of C.F.C. Founding limited liability Company

C.F.C. Founding limited liability Company was established on a decision taken by the cabinet of ministers in 2016 with the intention of establishing and maintaining the Financial City of the Colombo Port City Project. A committee of experts has been appointed to analyze the present project portfolio and the committee has observed that the company is no longer needed. Accordingly, the cabinet of ministers approved the proposal presented by Hon. Prime Minister, in his capacity as the minister of Finance, Economy and Policy Development, dissolve the company above mentioned in accordance with the section 319 (b) of the Companies Act No. 07 of 2007, and to authorize the secretary to the treasury to carry out other related activities.

3. Allocation of a land in the IT Park, Malabe to Mahamewnawa Buddhist College

Seruwila Wilgamwehera Somawathie Rajamaha Vihara incumbent has requested for a four-acre land in Malabe on concessionary payment basis to establish Mahamewnawa Buddhist College. Accordingly, the Urban Development Authority has identified a 2 acre 2 rood 0.70 perch plot of land in IT Park in Malabe, to allocate for this purpose. Accordingly, the cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by Hon. Hon. Prime Minister, in his capacity as the minister of Urban Development, Water Supply and Housing Facilities, for the disposal of said land to Mahamewnawa Buddhist School on 30-year lease basis.

4. Issuance of “Skills License” to National Vocational Qualification holders

The Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission has introduced a National Vocational Qualification Framework (NVQ) and a national qualification system. It is planned to launch a pilot project to introduce a skills license for Skilled Craftsmen with National Vocational Qualifications and for migrant workers, in partnership with the International Labor Organization and the Ceylon Employers Federation to enhance the recognition of this methodology. Accordingly the cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by Hon. Minister of Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations to issue a “ Skills License” to skilled NVQ Certificate holders who possess at least one year experience, in the form of a smart card.

5. Purchase of proposed land and construction of building complex of the Medical Faculty of Sri Lanka North Western University.

An amount of Rs. 70 million has been allocated on cabinet approval, for the land acquisition of Sri Lanka North Western University’s Medical Faculty construction. It is estimated that the current value of the land will cost Rs. 92 million. Accordingly, the cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal presented by Hon. Minister of Higher education, Technology and Innovation to increase this amount up to Rs. 92 million.

6. Entering into a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Jaffna and the University of Birmingham of United Kingdom.

In regard to the policy framework of the ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’, the vitality of implementing development strategic programmes that navigate towards an economy based on knowledge has been recognized. Adhering to the strategic concept mentioned above, it has been proposed to enter into a memorandum of understanding between the University of Jaffna and the University of Birmingham of United Kingdom in regard to the global medical group researches on Atrial Fibrillation implemented by the National Institute for Health Research of the United Kingdom, by adhering to the said strategy. Enhancement of research ability of undergraduates and candidates of postgraduate degree will be fulfilled across this proposed memorandum understanding. It is proposed to allocate an amount of Sterling Pounds 209,000 of United Kingdom as funds for total financial aid and consultation aid. Accordingly, the proposal submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by the Minister of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation for entering into the memorandum of understanding for the proposed research project has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

7. Awarding 45% of the printing of school textbooks distributed free of charge for the year 2021 by the Department of Educational Publications to Government Printing Cooperation.

Printing of school textbooks during years 2018 and 2019 has been entrusted to the Government Printing Cooperation directly away from the tender procedure. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal of the Minister of Education for awarding the open tender for printing a portion of the total required school textbooks for the year 2021 away from the open tender procedure to the Government Printing Cooperation, considering the capacity of the Cooperation and its previous performance.

8. Developing Diyagama International Sports complex and Sports Academy as a Sports University.

An international sport complex along with a sports academy is being constructed with all necessary facilities in a land in extent of 125 acres in Diyagama in the Divisional Secretariat Division of Homagama in the district of Colombo. The proposal submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers by the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs for taking further measurements required for revising and developing the plans of the above sports complex so that the National University of Sports which was highlighted in the policy declaration of ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Furthermore, the proposal submitted by the Minister for the appointment of an Intellectual Committee chaired by Dr. Chandra Embuldeniya acted as the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Uva Wellassa for submission of recommendations of studies of all circumstances pertaining to the process of establishment of the proposed Sports University too was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

9. Re – initiating the production activities of Walachchenei Paper Factory belongs to National Paper Company Limited as a diversification project.

The Government has identified the vitality of re – initiating the state ventures with a potential. Therefore, steps are being taken to re – initiate the production activities of Walachchenei Paper Factory as a diversification project. Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers has granted their consent as a policy decision to the proposal tabled by the Minister of Industries and Supply Management for implementation of diversification project proposed with the sub – projects of generation of electricity within the factory complex using solar power, initiation of a bottled water factory utilizing a portion of excess water by refining after utilizing for the activities of the factory, cultivating suitable crops to grow within the climate zone in a land in extent of 100 acres from the empty land of Walachchenei factory complex as well as to establish a holiday resort with a workshop within the complex.

10. Procurement of island – wide telecommunication system for Sri Lanka Railway Department.

The Asian Development Bank has granted a loan for enhancing the railway system in Colombo suburbs and it has been planned to use a portion of that grant for purchase the island – wide telecommunication system for Sri Lanka Railway Department. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the proposal tabled by the Minister of Transport Services Management for awarding the contract for the purpose to the JV of Ms/ Dialog Axiata PLC and Ms/ Dialog Broadband Network (Pvt.) Ltd., subject to the recommendation of the Standing Procurement Committee appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers .

11. Prioritizing in procurement of locally manufactured cables and conductor categories from local manufacturers to Ceylon Electricity Board and its affiliated bodies.

The Ceylon Electricity Board and its affiliated bodies have tend to procure more and more foreign manufactured products due to the foreign products being lower in price when compared to the local products as a result of the customs concession granted upon import of goods to Ceylon Electricity Board and its affiliated bodies leading to unfavourable waters to the local cable manufacturers. Therefore, the proposal of the Minister of Electricity and Power was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers for carrying out the technical evaluation considering that all the tax amounts applicable at the time of importing such goods and equipment should be paid by the relevant importers as an additional concession to the 20% priority granted to the local manufacturers prevailing at present at evaluating bids, during the procurement process carried out for procurement of electric cables, conductors, Galvanized iron etc goods and equipment manufactured in Sri Lanka by Ceylon Electricity Board and its affiliates, with the objective of ensuring a fair competition to local manufacturers under the prevailing circumstances.

12. Project to assist enhancing the accountability of supplying electricity – Package 7 Lot No. A2: Installation of a Static Var System (± 100 Mvar) in the Biyagama Grid Sub Station.

The Asian Development Bank has granted a loan of United States Dollares 115 million under the investment programme of assisting to enhance the accountability of supplying election in order to strengthen the transmission and distribution network of Ceylon Electricity Board while, it has been decided to install a Static Var Sustem (± 100 Mvar) in the Biyagama Grid Sub Station. Accordingly, the proposal furnished by the Minister of Electricity and Power for awarding M/s Hyosung Heavy Industries Corporation the relevant contract as per the recommendation of the Standing Procurement Committee appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

13. General Election – 2020 – Using official vehicles and official residencies for promoting the party / candidature by the Prime Minister and other ministers and the requirement of payment of an amount to the Government

His Excellency the President has dissolved the 08th Parliament by now and has declared the dates for the General Election. However, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers are engaged in their official duties until the date of the General Election while the Speaker as well as the Leader of the Opposition shall participate in the official duties as the members of the Constitutional Council. However, it was observed the appropriateness for them to pay a reasonable amount to the Government for using their official vehicles and official residencies since they participate in the activities of promoting their political party and candidature during the same period. Therefore, the Cabinet of Ministers decided that the office bearers mentioned above shall follow the same procedure followed during the General Election held in 2015.

• Payment of a monthly rental of Rupees 100,000/- per vehicle if official vehicles are used for promotion of their party and candidature.
• Bearing the amount spent for additional fuel required than the quantity of fuel provided for the official vehicles personally by them.
• Personally, bearing all expenditure if utilizing planes or choppers for promotion of their political party and candidature.
• Payment of a monthly rental of Rupees 100,000/- for the official residence if used for promotion of their party and candidature.

14. Procurement of fertilizer – (April) 2020

The covering approval of the Cabinet of Ministers was granted for the proposal furnished by the Minister of Mahaveli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development for awarding the contract of procurement of the stocks of chemical fertilizer required for the month of April 2020 to be imported for the companies of Ceylon Fertilizer Company Limited (Lak Pohora) and Colombo Commercial Company Limited (Commercial Fertilizer) under the purview of the Ministry of Mahaveli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development to the following establishments subject to the recommendation of the Standing Procurement Committee appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers.
• To award the contract of importing 27,400 = 5% metric tons of Urea (Granula) required for the companies of Ceylon Fertilizer Company Limited (Lak Pohora) and Colombo Commercial Company Limited (Commercial Fertilizer) for a sum of United States Dollars 270.74 per metric ton to Valency International Trading Private Limited.
• To award the contract of importing 2,040 = 5% metric tons of Urea (Frilled) required for the company of Colombo Commercial Company Limited (Commercial Fertilizer) for a sum of United States Dollars 228.30 per metric ton to Swiss Singapore Overseas Enterprises Limited.
• To award the contract of importing 3,000 = 5% metric tons of Triple Super Phosphate required for the company of Ceylon Fertilizer Company Limited (Lak Pohora) for a sum of United States Dollars 263.00 per metric ton to Golden Bali International Trading Private Limited.

15. Controlling the economy amidst challenges to the global economy from COVID – 19

A drastic setback in the global economy has been experienced with the outbreak of New Corona Virus (COVID – 19) while its preamble is visualized with the total discrepancy in the transportation / logistics, tourism and aviation industries. Although China, the epicentre of this epidemy has given the greenlight of controlling and prevention of the epidemy by now due to its precautionary measures taken, the New Corona Virus (COVID – 19) has invaded many countries including developed countries in the world.

Under these circumstances, it is essential the government has to mediate in supplying public health services within the country, take every possible precaution for the prevention of the epidemy, provision of services and supplies dispersed throughout a massive spectrum as well as controlling the damage caused to the sectors of tourism, export, foreign employment, information technology and micro / minor enterprises related to those sectors.

By 02nd of March 2020, on which the Parliament was dissolved, the appreciation act had not been tabled in the Parliament for the year 2020 whereas the Government had to see for other precautions and remedies as a result of no ally from the Opposition for the bill tabled by the Government for required financing due to insufficient provisions available for procurement of medicine applicable to the year 2019, procurement of fertilizer as well as settling bills pertaining to various constructions and above all conducting the general election in the year 2020 by the supplementary budget approved by then.

Therefore, by virtue of the powers vested in His Excellency the President from the Constitution of the country, the provisions to furnish the required provisions for the purposes mentioned above has been empowered by now while the General Treasury has taken the following measurements accordingly.

• Releasing Rupees 10 billion for settling the bills procured medicine in arrears.
• Releasing Rupees 500 million for Corona eradication activities.
• Releasing Rupees 3 billion for settling the procurement bills of fertilizer.
• Releasing Rupees 5 billion for settling bills of small and medium scale construction contractors.
• Allocation of Rupees 46 billion for the interest applicable for the senior citizens’ deposits that had not been paid for two years.
• Supplying Rupees 08 billion required for the General Election 2020.
Considering the risk prevailing in the economy due to the slowdown experienced in the global economy, many countries tend to look for mid term local solutions. Accordingly, the Government have paid attention on harvesting the precise benefits considering the trend of declining in the crude oil prices currently existing in the global market and has planned to implement the following resolutions taking the opinions of the experts into consideration.
• Sustaining the current market fuel price as it is with the objective of minimizing the traffic congestion while easing the public and the private vehicle transportation.
• Imposing an import tax so that a profit margin can be acquired by the Government when importing crude oil.
• Establishment of a Petroleum Stabilization Fund utilizing the savings from price deduction of fuel in the international market while collecting an amount of Rupees 200 billion within a period of 06 months under the said fund.
• Provision of Rupees 50 billion to the Ceylon Electricity board from the aforementioned fund so that a deduction can be made from the amount of payables to the Ceylon Petroleum Cooperation by the Ceylon Electricity Board.
• Considering advantage of the decline of prices in crude oil in the global market, supplying the Ceylon Electricity Board crude oil for an amount of Rupees 70/- per liter by the Ceylon Petroleum Cooperation and settle the bank loan and its interest by deducting more than Rupees 30 billion from the expenditure spent for generating thermo electricity.

Whereas, considering the drought experienced in most of the areas in the country as well as the requirement of supplying essential food rations for a fair price under current prevailing circumstances, it has been planned to deduct the maximum retail price of a kilo (01 kg) of red legumes / dhal to Rupees 65/-, and the maximum retail price of 450 g of canned fish to Rupees 100/-.

Furthermore, it has been planned to provide the following concessionaries for the sustainable maintenance of the fields of tourism, garments and trade too which are affected due to the New Corona Virus.

• A concessionary period of six (06) months for pay back the loans obtained from banks and financial establishments.
• Especially introducing a flexible working time frame for the fields of information technology and garment while providing a concession for the payment of overtime and for working on holidays. And;
• Providing working capital needs under an interest rate of 4%.
Approval of the Cabinet of Ministers has been granted for the proposal submitted by His Excellency the President for the implementation of the programme mentioned above.