Government: Latest News

Non-Cash Benefit tax exemption only benefits MPs, says GMOA

COLOMBO (News 1st); The Inland Revenue Department on Wednesday (8) issued a circular on exempting non-cash benefits provided to employees including vehicle, fuel allowances, housing, medical benefits etc. from the PAYE tax.These also include the value of company shares or the share options offered by employers, the value of the telephone allowances and concessionary rate loans obtained by employees. However, the Government Medical Officers' Association alleged that the amendments to the PAYE Tax were made to benefit only the 225 MPs in Parliament.Dr.

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Swiss Govt. to support needs of kids in Sri Lanka though UNICEF - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka - Switzerland - Maldives
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Swiss Govt. to support needs of kids in Sri Lanka though UNICEF
The Government of Switzerland has contributed Swiss Francs (CHF) 500,000 through UNICEF to meet the urgent needs of children impacted by the economic crisis in Sri Lanka.With this funding, UNICEF will procure essential medical supplies, including medicines for treatment of illnesses and complications among children and women.In education, the funds will help children in disadvantaged schools continue learning and support catch-up classes to recover learning loss, including by providing transport allowance to teachers and daily snacks to students.UNICEF will also support case management for children facing violence, neglect and family separation, including children with a disability.“UNICEF and partners swiftly responded to the needs of the most vulnerable children from the outset of the economic crisis last year, with thanks to the support of donors. This contribution from the Swiss government and people is crucial in sustaining the response and protecting children from the effects of the crisis as it continues”, said Christian Skoog, Representative, UNICEF Sri LankaThe Swiss contribution will also be used to support data collection and analysis to assess the impact of the on-going crisis on households’ social and economic well-being and vulnerabilities, to help national and development partners put in place effective response strategies.“Switzerland has worked closely with many partners, including UNICEF in addressing the needs of communities during crises such as the one that Sri Lanka faces now.
(VIDEO) Military and Police Units in Colombo as TUs protest - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka - county Union
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(VIDEO) Military and Police Units in Colombo as TUs protest
COLOMBO (News 1st); Military and Police Units equipped in riot gear were seen stationed at multiple locations in Fort, Colombo as Trade Unions launched protests against the governments' unjust tax regime.Trade Unions in Sri Lanka have declared Wednesday the 8th of February as a day for protests.Trade Unions are protesting against the government's failure to address the medicine shortage, and the unjust tax regime imposed by the government.The Government Medical Officers Association, a party to the Professionals' Trade Union Collective launched a 24-hour token strike across all Private and State hospitals.The Federation of University Teachers' Association also decided to engage in a one-day token strike.Trade Unions from the electricity, water supply, petroleum and port sectors organized joint protests in Fort, Colombo on Wednesday (8) afternoon.Port sector trade unions announced a work-to-rule action in the morning, and joined the protest in the afternoon.The water supply, petroleum and power supply sector trade unions announced that they will take sick leave on Wednesday (8) and join the protest without reporting to work.Activities across hospitals, universities, divisional secretaries, and other sectors affected by the trade union action launched by the Professionals' Trade Union CollectiveHowever, the Ceylon Electricity Board Technological Engineers and Superintendent Union stated that although they support the protest against the unjust tax regime, they will be taking necessary measures to supply electricity without disruption. A.G.U.
Professionals’ Trade Unions go on strike - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka - county Park - county Union - county Hyde
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Professionals’ Trade Unions go on strike
COLOMBO (News 1st); Trade Unions in Sri Lanka have declared Wednesday the 8th of February as a day for protests.Trade Unions will be protesting against the government's failure to address the medicine shortage, and the unjust tax regime imposed by the government.They are expected to gather at Hyde Park in Colombo on Wednesday (8) afternoon.The Government Medical Officers Association, a party to the Professionals' Trade Union Collective said that a 24-hour token strike will be launched on Wednesday across all Private and State hospitals.The Federation of University Teachers' Associations also decided to engage in a one-day token strike.Trade Unions from the electricity, water supply, petroleum and port sectors are preparing for a joint protest in Fort, Colombo on Wednesday (8) afternoon.Port sector trade unions have announced a work-to-rule action in the morning, and are to join the protest in the afternoon.The water supply, petroleum and power supply sector trade unions announced that they will take sick leave on Wednesday (8) and join the protest without reporting to work.Activities across hospitals, universities, divisional secretaries, and other sectors affected by the trade union action launched by the Professionals' Trade Union CollectiveHowever, the Ceylon Electricity Board Technological Engineers and Superintendent Union stated that although they support the protest against the unjust tax regime, they will be taking necessary measures to supply electricity without disruption. A.G.U.
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.
Two PUCSL members submit resignation letters to the President - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Two PUCSL members submit resignation letters to the President
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Udeni Wickramasinghe & Mohan Samaranayake have informed the President that they would be resigning from the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka.Mohan Samaranayake in his letter of resignation had noted that the work environment, and the work style of the PUCSL has become highly unprofessional, unpleasant, and intolerable.He added that the situation has degenerated to such an extent that on 20th January 2023 when a special meeting of the commission was held, a group of thugs was organized and allowed inside the commission premises who indirectly threatened him with physical assault and destruction of property.He noted that the act of hooliganism was justified by the insinuation by the PUCSL Chairman at the National Council meeting on 24th January 2023 with the participation of the members of the commission.Samaranayake noted that the justification of threats against him indicated he run the risk of being threatened and even assaulted in the future.He also noted that the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka by violating Section 9 (5) of the PUCSL Act continues to make decision and statements purported to be that of the commission without the concurrence of the rest of the members, thereby making other members redundant.Mohan Samaranayake said that he had been humiliated and painted the villain before the society.He also noted that the failure on the part of the government authorities to counter legal and other arguments against the proposed electricity tariff hike with irrefutable facts, leave the people in a quandary.Udeni Wickramasinghe noted that he decided to resign from the PUCSL due to personal reasons. 
Bondholders Group prepared to engage with Sri Lanka on Debt Restructuring - newsfirst.lk - India - Sri Lanka - state Indiana
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Bondholders Group prepared to engage with Sri Lanka on Debt Restructuring
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the "Bondholder Group") in a letter to the IMF Managing Director has confirmed it is prepared to engage, through its Steering Committee, with the Sri Lankan authorities in restructuring negotiations consistent with the parameters of an IMF Programme and the targets specified therein (the "IMF Programme Targets").The Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the "Bondholder Group") has acknowledges the Sri Lankan authorities' engagement with their official creditors towards a resolution of the current crisis and restoration of debt sustainability.The Bondholder Group further acknowledged that such engagement has recently resulted in the Government of India (in its letter to the IMF, dated January 16, 2023 (the "India Letter")) delivering letters of financing assurances, committing to support Sri Lanka and contribute to its efforts to restore debt sustainability by providing debt relief and financing consistent with the IMF Extended Fund Facility Arrangement (the "IMF Programme") and the IMF Programme targets indicated in the India Letter.Similarly, the Bondholder Group through its Steering Committee stands ready to engage quickly and effectively with the Sri Lankan authorities to design and implement restructuring terms that would help Sri Lanka restore debt sustainability and allow the country to re-gain access to the international capital markets during the IMF Programme period.The Bondholder Group understands that the IMF Programme's debt sustainability targets are identified as (i) reducing the ratio of public debt to GDP to 95% by 2032,  (ii) limiting the central government's annual gross financing needs to GDP ratio to 13% in the period between 2027 and
Sri Lankans - Ranil Wickremesinghe - Julie Chung - US pledges support for Sri Lanka’s recovery efforts - newsfirst.lk - Usa - Sri Lanka
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US pledges support for Sri Lanka’s recovery efforts
COLOMBO (News 1st) –  Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo on Wednesday (1).She is on an official visit to the country, and she discussed the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, and the ongoing US assistance to the Sri Lankan people.US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung accompanied Nuland for the meeting, where both sides further discussed ways both the United States of America and Sri Lanka are working together toward an inclusive, prosperous and secure future for all Sri Lankans.According to the President's Media Division, the President in his meeting with Victoria Nuland, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States, thanked the US Government for their support during difficult times. Under-Secretary Nuland had pledged the US Government’s support for Sri Lanka's ongoing recovery efforts.The discussion also focussed on the on-going discussions with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), while the U.S. pledged to continue to support the negotiations with the aim of swiftly resolving the issues.The President outlined the measures being taken in regard to the reconciliation talks with the minority parties in Sri Lanka, including the full implementation of the 13th Amendment.Discussions also focussed on the on-going efforts to combat the growing narcotics trade, with the U.S.
Bandula Gunawardena - Ranil Wickremesinghe - President orders to further curtail government expenditure - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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President orders to further curtail government expenditure
COLOMBO (News 1st); In a note to the Cabinet, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, had stated that the Government revenue at present is far below the monthly expenditure for the month of January 2023.The President's Media Division, and Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Bandula Gunawardena confirmed that the President had instructed on further curtailing government expenses.The President had noted that the Treasury finds it challenging to meet all expenditures at this moment, except for payments for salaries, pensions, welfare, pharmaceuticals and debt servicing.Therefore, President Wickremesinghe had pointed out that the Government expenditure will have to be curtailed further / postponed until planned revenue to be raised on the recent tax revisions is realized, reported the President's Media Division.He had noted that the Treasury will formulate a priority criterion for this purpose.Furthermore, the President had pointed out that public officers should refrain from obtaining goods/services on credit basis, and any officer who violates this will be held personally responsible for such expenditure, said the PMD."The President informed the Cabinet of Ministers that the revenue for January collected from the Inland Revenue Department, Sri Lanka Customs and the Excise Department was Rs. 158.7 Billion.
Release Wasantha! 12,000 affidavits handed over to Attorney General - newsfirst.lk
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Release Wasantha! 12,000 affidavits handed over to Attorney General
COLOMBO (News 1st) – 12,000 affidavits signed seeking the release of Wasantha Mudalige, the convener of the Inter-University Student's Federation who remains in remand custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, were handed over to the Attorney General on Monday (30).Student activists from the Inter-University Student's Federation along with activists from Mass Organizations visited the Attorney General's Department on Monday (30) morning to hand over 12,000 affidavits that were signed seeking the release of Wasantha MudaligeThese 12,000 affidavits claim that the signees were also engaged in the public protests that took place since March 2022 to bring about change by ending a corrupt and inefficient governance that burdened the people with a failed economy.The signees also claim they were involved in the protests that took place on the 9th of July 2022.They also note that the Inter-University Student's Federation was just one organization among many that took part in those protests, and that Wasantha Mudalige is just one student leader who took part in the demonstrations.These 12,000 affidavits claim that they too should be treated in the same manner as Wasantha Mudalige.The group attempted to hand over these affidavits from the back entrance to the Attorney General's Department, however, those attempts were futile.Thereafter, two representatives were allowed to enter the Attorney General's Department and the affidavits were taken inside the using a Police Jeep."If Wasantha Mudalige is a terrorist for his involvement in the Aragalaya, then the millions who joined the protests are also terrorists.
Threatening calls to NEC members originated from Dubai – CID - newsfirst.lk - city Dubai
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Threatening calls to NEC members originated from Dubai – CID
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The National Election Commission said that it cannot be satisfied with the status of investigations taking place with regard to the death threats made to three members of the NEC.A senior official at the National Election Commission speaking to News 1st said that various factions are continuing to make undue influence on the NEC in order to delay the Local Government Elections.He added that certain state officials, attached to several State Institutions that should be involved in ensuring a Free & Fair election takes place, are neglecting their duties.The Senior Official said that those who appointed the state officials who are neglecting their duties must be held accountable for the dereliction of duty.The Chairman of the National Election Commission, Attorney Nimal Punshihewa has requested the President to intervene over the death threats made to the members of the National Election Commission.The NEC Chairman in a letter to the President requested that an environment favourable to conduct a free and fair election be created.News 1st also inquired from the Criminal Investigations Department on the progress made with regard to the investigations on the death threats made to members of the National Election Commission.A Senior Official at the CID said that investigations revealed that the threatening phone calls were made from Dubai.He said that a telecommunication analysis reports has been called for from the service providers.
Sri Lanka Government threatens legal action against the state’s own Human Rights Commission - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka Government threatens legal action against the state’s own Human Rights Commission
Colombo (News 1st) – Sri Lanka’s Government has taken the extraordinary decision to ‘definitely prosecute’ members of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, the state’s own human rights protection body, a key government minister announced Sunday (29th).In addition, on the same matter, the government is preparing charges to remove the Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka, the controlling body for electricity distribution, a decision that ruling party MPs have approved, the minister said.The dispute swirls around an order by the Human Rights Commission (HRCSL) that the state-owned power company, Ceylon Electricity Board, which has a monopoly on power supply nationwide, should not impose power cuts during a 2-week period in January when high school senior students are sitting their main exams, the GCE Advanced Level, as it infringes upon the children’s right to education.The Advanced Level exams are crucial in that they determine entrance into the state university system. Entry into Sri Lanka’s state universities is fiercely competitive, with only about 25,000 students gaining admission annually although over 300,000 sit the exams.Last week the HRCSL acted upon a large number of complaints from parents of students and summoned the Secretary of the Ministry of Power and Energy, the members of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), both of which are governing bodies of the power company, and several other related bodies, and obtained a promise that there would be no power cuts.However, the Ceylon Electricity Board flouted the order of the HRCSL and the PUCSL and went ahead with the power cuts.
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