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“I’m not here to be popular; new tax policy is an unpopular decision” – President

COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that if the country continues according to the existing plan, Sri Lanka can rise out of bankruptcy by 2026.While delivering his Government’s Policy Statement following the ceremonial opening of the parliament session, President Wickremesinghe said that people will realize the importance of the present unpopular decisions in two to three years."Due to the measures taken, we have been successful in reducing the burden gradually. Now there is stability in the economy. People are comfortable.

We have been able to safely guide Mother Sri Lanka a long way across a challenging course. It was not an easy journey. However, it is not yet over," said the President.He added that the government is committed to securing the financial system that was on the verge of collapse, noting that the government expenditure was controlled, while measures were taken to increase tax revenue."We know that tax revenues decreased due to decisions taken in the past.

As at 31st December 2019, 1.6 million businesses, companies and individuals paid taxes. However, by December 2021, the number of tax payers decreased to five hundred thousand. Government tax revenues fell to an all-time low.

Realizing the destruction this caused to the economy of the country, many institutions and organizations requested to revert to the tax system which existed in 2019," he added."However, it is the same people who requested such tax policies, who are criticizing the present tax regime. Introducing new tax policies is a politically unpopular decision. Remember, I’m not here to be popular.

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(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.
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.
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.
Kanchana Wijesekera - ‘My officials were threatened to sign’ – Kanchana on No-Power Cut agreement - newsfirst.lk - Sri Lanka
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‘My officials were threatened to sign’ – Kanchana on No-Power Cut agreement
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Sri Lanka's Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said that the officials from the Ministry of Power and Energy who attended a recent meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka had disclosed that they were pressurized to sign two documents that they did not agree do.The Minister tweeted on Friday (27) that the officials were pressurized by two members of the Human Rights Commission, and that they were threatened with jail sentences.On Wednesday (25), the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka revealed that all the  necessary stakeholders including Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) agreed to provide uninterrupted power supply during the advanced level examination period until February 17th.However, despite the statement from the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, power outages were experienced on Wednesday (25) and Thursday (26).The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka on Friday (27) said it will elaborate facts to the Supreme Court against officials including the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board and the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy for breaching an agreement by suspending the supply of power. Speaking further, an official from the HRCS said it has been observed that the CEB and the Ministry of Power and Energy are operating arbitrarily, going against the laws of the land. Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka directing a letter to the Chairman of the HRCSL said that it will not approve power outages occurring during the period between the 26th of January and 17th of February. The Human Rights Commission emphasized that if the CEB does not act according to the directive, the HRCSL has the ability to act according to Section 21 of the Sri
Ranil Wickremesinghe - ‘Will not be involved in any election activity’ – President tells UNP - newsfirst.lk
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‘Will not be involved in any election activity’ – President tells UNP
The United National Party said that President Ranil Wickremesinghe has officially informed the party that he will NOT be involved in any election-related activity for Local Government institutions, namely the Municipal Councils, Urban Councils, and Pradeshiya Sabhas.A statement from the UNP notes that the President officially communicated his position on Tuesday (3).According to the UNP, the President had noted that he was given a mandate NOT to engage in elections, but to uplift the country within two years.The President had also informed the leaders of the United National Party that he is not prepared to act in contravention of that mandate.The President made these comments when he met with the senior leadership of the United National Party in Colombo on Tuesday (3).The President had told the UNP senior leadership that he is only ready to chair the UNP Working Committee in keeping with tradition if the UNP wants to decide on contesting the Local Government Election.In addition, the President had stressed that he would not be involved in any activity related to the Local Government Election. He had also informed the UNP seniors that if the party decides to contest the Local Government Election, 40% of the candidates should represent fresh faces. The President had also noted funds should only be allocated for 4,000 elected representatives, while the other 4,000 elected representatives must declare their services as free with no salary or benefits.
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