In a bid to rescue families being crushed by mountains of debt, the Government has rolled out an extensive relief package for 12 drought affected districts, writing off micro-finance loans taken by women in these regions and offering a state subsidized loan scheme, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera announced in the Northern capital of Jaffna yesterday.
A new bus policy to consolidate the private bus transport business is expected to begin by year end under the Sahasara Bus Reforms Project following a pilot project carried out in Kandy. Highly placed government sources told that a pilot project in the private bus transport business where owners would become suppliers of vehicles and pool revenues was successful.
The Government will impose interest rate limits on micro-finance lenders, in a bid to prevent predatory loan schemes targeting vulnerable and impoverished people, especially in the war-affected districts of the North and East, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in Mullaitivu yesterday.
The awarding of graduate teacher appointments to the Sri Lanka Teacher Service (2018) required to teach advanced level vocational subjects at national and provincial schools was held at Temple Trees under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The Premier said 13 years of continuous education for all students has now become a reality and all children would be able to achieve success in any field they preferred to study disregarding their performances at the GCE O/L exam. “Unemployment has become a burning issue in society due to the absence of labour market oriented education,” the PM said.
“Wasting our country’s human resource based on their O/L results is a crime.To overcome this situation, the government is dedicated to ensure 13 years of continuous education for all students,”the Prime Minister said.
The construction work on the National Nephrology Hospital in Polonnaruwa, which is to be built as a gift from China, will commence tomorrow (21) under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena.This new hospital is being built as the largest kidney hospital in South Asia, at a cost of Rs. 1.2 billion, fulfilling a long term aspiration of the President to provide services for kidney patients.
The government will enter into a joint venture with the Indian government to turn the debt ridden Mattala Rajapaksa International airport (MRIA) into a profitable venture.State Finance Minister Eran Wickremaratne said the agreement to be signed this year would see the expenditures split into 30% for Sri Lanka while the rest will be borne by the Indian government.
Sri Lanka's manufacturing sector slowed down in June 2018, compared to the previous month, while the Services Sector expanded albeit slowly, the Central Bank's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) Survey released for the month showed. According to the survey, the Manufacturing PMI decreased to 57.6 index points in June 2018 from 60.6 index points observed in the previous month and was in line with the pattern observed in the previous years.
The government will provide a comprehensive trade adjustment package to those who are likely to be affected by Free Trade Agreements, Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickreme said yesterday. The trade adjustment package will cover new machinery and technology and skills retraining, he explained. Minister Samarawickreme made these observations joining the adjournment debate on the Sri Lanka Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA) yesterday.
Anyone who has a telephone or computer with internet facilities can now use the SLTB Express app from home to buy a ticket for an SLTB long-distance bus starting from the Pettah Central Bus Stand. Commuters can also use this facility to reserve a seat of their choice, Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said.