Latest News

Sri Lanka’s post covid-19 economy will receive a major boost from foreign direct investments (FDI) due to the way the government controlled the covid-19 situation, Minister of Information & Communications Technology, Higher Education, Technology and Innovations, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said.

In an interview with ‘Daily News Finance’ he said that even the projects like Colombo Port City and mega apartment projects will receive a keen interest from the foreign buyers and investors.

Most of the affected and deaths from corona virus were senior citizens in Europe. This proves the medical system in those countries were not geared to tackle issues of this nature and in contract Sri Lanka has provided its medical care is above worked class. Sri Lanka had only 9 deaths from nearly 900 patients and this is a remarkable success and this speaks volumes of Sri Lanka’s medical capabilities.

“This will provide a sense of health security for senior citizens who will be keen to spend rest of their lives in Sri Lanka opening up new vistas in elderly care segment in Sri Lanka.”

The term ‘Make Sri Lanka Your Home’ and not ‘second home’ will now have a more secure and realistic meaning. We even expect most of the diaspora to return and settle down in Sri Lanka and start business in the island”

Today most of the Sri Lankan students residing overseas are returning. “I am now talking to some of the world’s leading Universities to open their Universities in Sri Lanka so that this student migration with reverse and also attract students from the region to come and study in these universities.”

The Minister said that already several international universities are talking to him in this regard.

The government has already allocated a special dedicated Higher Education dedicated zone in Gampaha to accommodate foreign universities. “They will be given all facilities and tax concessions.”

This intern will open up a new supply chain.

Dr. Gunawardane said that he also expects many multinational companies to open their regional offices in Sri Lanka due to the health safety factor and also security aspect. In addition the Political stability and also media freedom are some other plus points for investors.

He said that Sri Lanka was in par with Israel which has the most sophisticated intelligence agencies in the world to successfully track and treat clusters of Corona virus patients.

The innovative skills of Sri Lankans were also highlighted during this crisis and several patented medical robots and protective gear were created. “Inventers must now try to market them globally and government will egg them to with assistance.” 

We will have to maintain a balance between steps taken to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease on the one hand and the restoration of normality on the other, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa stated yesterday.

“Even countries like Italy, Britain, France and the USA which experienced tens of thousands of Coronavirus related deaths have commenced programmes for the gradual restoration of normal life. What is meant by restoring normality is the process of extending the restoration of public life in a controlled way, to the sections of the population that had been confined to their homes during the shutdown,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said, issuing a special statement.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said Government and private sector institutions will begin functioning with a limited number of employees. “The number of passengers on trains and buses will be limited. Schools and tuition classes will remain closed. Social distancing norms are to be maintained when commencing work in this phased manner.”

“We should be aware that even though the spread of Coronavirus has been brought under control, it has not been eradicated completely. Random sample testing will continue. Quarantine centres will be kept open. Even after the restoration of normality has begun, it may be necessary to isolate and lock down certain areas and even to impose police curfews,” he added.

The Prime Minister urged the public to be mindful of the need for social distancing even after the curfew is relaxed. “Coronavirus patients may continue to be found, but our health authorities have by now mastered the manner in which such situations should be handled.  We request the people to extend their fullest cooperation to the Armed Forces and Police for the phased restoration of normal life in the country.”  

The Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to Health, Armed Forces, Intelligence and other sectors for controlling the COVID-19 spread to the point where Sri Lanka is well ahead of most countries. “It's noteworthy that while 25 Sri Lankans resident in Britain have died of the Coronavirus, only nine Sri Lankans resident in Sri Lanka have died of this disease so far. It must also be stated that had Gotabaya Rajapaksa not been elected President on 16 November last year, none of these achievements would have been possible.” 

In the two districts of Colombo and Gampaha curfew will be in force until further notice.

In other districts including Kalutara and Puttalam curfew will be effective only from 8.00 pm to 5.00 am daily from tomorrow, Monday, May 11th until further notice.

Resumption of civilian life and work while curfew is in force in the districts of Colombo and Gampaha will commence tomorrow, May 11th as previously scheduled.

Conditions included in previous announcements regarding the resumption of normal life will remain  unchanged.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa participated in the all-night Pirith Chanting Ceremony organized to celebrate Vesak day held at the Gonapola Olaboduwa Historical Rajamaha Viharaya in Horana yesterday(May 07).

The President visited the Chief Incumbent of the Vihara, Ven. Uduwe Hemaloka Thera and engaged in pleasantries.

Consequently, the president and the first lady engaged in religious rituals and paid homage to the sacred relics.

President Rajapaksa also participated in a special pooja to celebrate the Vesak festival.

The customary invitation to commence the procession and placing of the casket containing sacred relics was carried out by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The Mahasanga led by the Pradhana Adhikarana Sanganayaka of Nawa Korala, Colombo, Dr. Diviyagaha Yasassi Nayaka Thero and the Chief Incumbent of the Lankarama Vihara in Milano, Italy Ven. Olaboduwa Dhammika Thero graced the Pirith chanting ceremony with their presence.

 
 

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is optimistic that the economy adversely affected by the COVID – 19 pandemic could be re-built on a solid basis.

The Presidential Task Force  in charge of the Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication has been entrusted with the responsibility of formulating a new economic model to achieve this objective. President directed that the Task Force should prepare economic plans with specified targets in different areas that come under its purview and implement them.

President expressed these views during a meeting with the members of the newly-appointed Task Force held at the Presidential Secretariat today (6) to discuss modalities relating to the resumption of civilian life and work from May 11th. Apparel and tourism sectors which make a huge contribution to the national economy should be revitalized to suit the changing situations, President said.

President was of the view that new opportunities are now open to attract tourists  from countries where the COVID – 19 virus has subdued. Medical tourism can be promoted by highlighting the capabilities of indigenous medical  system which was used for treatment of the virus infected people. In order to encourage high-spending tourists, visas must be issued to them supplemented by an internationally recognized certificate.

Some tourists prefer to stay longer than usual in a particular country especially during the winter season. President highlighted the possibility of strengthening the tourism sector by attracting such long term travellers. Members of the Task Force were told to pay attention to promote domestic tourism so that the local hotel industry could be saved from collapse.

President also pointed out the possibility of attracting more foreign investors to invest in the Port City and the Industrial Zone in Hambantota.  The Ministry Secretaries were entrusted with the responsibility of identifying  opportunities for investments instead of seeking foreign loans.

During the last few weeks a number of new innovations have been made in the country. Steps should be taken to introduce these products to the global market.

Head of the Task Force Basil Rajapaksa said that the newly instituted Task Force has the capability of fulfilling its mandate  with a new vision in order to achieve objectives set out by the President. The Task Force will support new businesses and will extend the fullest cooperation  to already existing large, medium and small scale enterprises, he stated.

Although the private sector offices have been advised to resume work at 10.00 am daily from May 11th, industrial and production activities can be adjusted in accordance with their requirements.  Mr. Basil Rajapaksa warned that no loss of employment should take place both in the state and private sectors while the country is moving forward.

Recalling recent requests by Sri Lankan students studying in other countries to retun home, President remarked that it was an indication of the large number of students going overseas to pursue higher education. This has caused an immense outflow of foreign exchange income. President Rajapaksa said that measures should be taken to expand investment opportunities in the field of tertiary education in the country  so that outgoing  foreign exchange could be saved while providing educational facilities to foreign students, in Sri Lanka.

A large amount of money is being spent to import medicines annually. Most of these medicines can be manufactured locally. The Task Force was requested to prepare necessary background to develop pharmaceutical production in the country.

The production of vegetable and other seeds required by farmers domestically, was also discussed.

Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, several Ministry Secretaries and a number of leading businessmen also joined the discussion.

President Rajapaksa told Non Aligned Movement leaders’ online summit yesterday that Sri Lanka supports the endeavours of the WHO in ensuring effective responses on the requirements of the international community in the context of the increasing challenges brought about by the virus. The Organization’s support particularly in the search for a vaccine and assisting countries to mitigate the impact of this virus, is commendable, he said.

Sri Lanka has been successfully containing and controlling the COVID-19 threat. Out of the total PCR tests conducted so far only 3% has been confirmed as infected. He briefed the Summit that when Sri Lanka detected the first Covid-19 patient in Sri Lanka, a Chinese tourist, on 12th February, the government established a Task Force comprising key health personnel, high-ranking military personnel and administrators to monitor the spread of the pandemic and also to take required measures to combat the spread of the virus and recommend to the government any measures the government should take to mitigate the consequences.

Considering the difficulties faced by some customers of financial institutions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to obtain certain relief measures, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has extended the deadline (30.04.2020) for submitting requests for debt moratoriums and 4% per annum refinancing facility for two months working capital, until 15 May 2020.

Further, where the validity period of cheques valued less than Rs.500,000 has expired, the banks are required to consider them as valid until 15 May 2020. These extensions were effected through the Circular No. 06 of 2020 dated 28.04.2020.

The eligible businesses and individuals are requested to contact their respective banks with necessary information/documents on a timely basis if they wish to avail themselves of the relief measures. These measures require the banks to extend the existing tenure of loans eligible for moratorium by the respective moratorium period. Thus, we urge the borrowers to repay the instalments subject to the moratorium during such extended period without any additional cost, so that by receiving such funds banks will also be able to strengthen their liquidity positions.

Source- CBK

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) endorsed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s initiative to make a collective call on affluent nations and international financial institutes to grant debt relief to vulnerable countries whose economies are badly affected by lockdowns. 

Addressing the NAM Online Summit yesterday, President Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka noted with deep concern that developing countries are facing an unprecedented economic and debt crisis due to the pandemic. The anticipated global recession will further worsen this adverse climate. As such, the need for debt relief and financial stimulus for these countries has never been greater.

He called on NAM leaders attending the Summit under the Chair of Ilam Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan, to make a joint appeal to the international financial institutions and donors to provide debt relief to vulnerable countries. “This will facilitate a meaningful release of valuable funding and at the same time to stimulate such economies.”

It is important to emphasize that Middle Income Countries too face critical and diverse economic and social challenges that have been augmented by this pandemic, President Rajapaksa pointed out. Therefore, it is important to also focus on their needs at this particular juncture and accord the necessary financial support to avert negative economic consequences.

The President expressed support for global solidarity, unity and renewed multi-lateral cooperation in overcoming COVID -19. Sri Lanka firmly believes that this Summit will serve as an important platform for the NAM Member States to support collective global action in combating this deadly virus and sharing best practices and lessons learnt, he said. 

 
 

Sri Lanka expressed deep appreciation to the frontline healthcare and essential workers, in Sri Lanka and globally, for their dedication and selfless commitment. Sri Lanka remains deeply concerned by the unprecedented consequences arising from this pandemic to all  countries and peoples, including its catastrophic health impacts, accompanying humanitarian crisis, devastation of economies and social and psychological tensions, among others. 

Global solidarity, unity and collective action have been key to addressing this unprecedented challenge.  As such, Sri Lanka is pleased to support various multilateral initiatives in responding to this pandemic and addressing its long-term socio-economic consequences. Sri Lanka is pleased to endorse the declaration of the NAM Online Summit, the President said.  

Sri Lanka expressed fullest support to the initiative to establish a NAM Task Force to compile a database of basic humanitarian and medical needs of the member states to sensitize donors on urgent requirements. The NAM Summit formulated a “COVID 19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan” to assist in stemming the impact of the pandemic in already vulnerable humanitarian contexts.

Further clarification

01.What are the districts where the curfew is on and at what

  • Curfew will be effective in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara and Puttalam until further notice.
  • In the rest of the districts curfew will be on from 8.00pm o 5.00 am from today (04) till Wednesday (06). Curfew which will be re-imposed in these districts at 8.00pm on Wednesday, May 6th will be in force till 5.00am on Monday, May 11th.
  1. When will the resumption of civilian life and office work begin while curfew is still in force?

  • While curfew is still in force civilian life in the distrits of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara and Puttalam will resume from Monday, the May 11th .
  • Although, this plan was scheduled to be implemented from today, Monday, the May 4th, due to 04 holidays falling this week it was extended till Monday, May 11th.

 

  1. How do the primary functions relating to resumption of civilian life progress?

 

  • Both public and private sector entities in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara and Puttalam should re-commence their work from Monday, May 11th.
  • Heads of each institute habe already had been instructed to work out a plan based on their requirements.
  • Head of each entity should ensure strict adherence to the prescribed health guidelines issued to control the spread of COVID – 19 virus while carrying out their operations.
  • The private sector entities are requested to open for work at 10.00am daily.
  • The responsibility to decide who should come to office work and their number lies with head of the each organization.
  • Buses belonging to Sri Lanka Transport Board and railway carriages can only transport employees of both public and private sectors who are reporting for work.

  1. For what purposes civilian can leave their homes during curfew hours?

 

  • Civilians except those who are essentially required to report to work are requested to remain in their homes as a measure to control the disease.
  • People are allowed to leave their homes only to purchase essential items such as food and medicines.

 

  1. What are the areas where people are premitted to leave their homes based on the last digit of the NIC and from when?

 

  • Only in areas where the curfew is in force
  • From Monday, May 11th
  • This system does not apply to areas where the curfew is relaxed

The Government expects the public will refrain from gathering unnecessarily by following above guidelines even when the curfew is lifted.

Revival of the economy and the resumption of civilian life will take place while curfew regulations are effective and controlling unnecessary congregation of people as a measure to prevent the spread of the disease is a prime objective of this mechanism.

Conditions included in previous announcements regarding the above matter remain unchanged.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa engaged in religious observances held at the historic Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi premises in Anuradhapura yesterday (02) to obtain the blessings of this sacred Bodhi upon the country and its citizens.

The President who visited the Anuradhapura sacred city met with the Atamasthanadhipathi Ven. Dr.Pallegama Siriniwasa Nayaka Thero and received his blessings.

President also participated in the Kiri Ahara Pujawa for Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi held near the Ruwanweli Maha Seya.

Thereafter, the President called on the Chief Incumbent of the Ruwanweli Maha Seya Ven. Pallegama Hemaratana Nayaka Thero and engaged in a  discussion.

President Rajapaksa also visited the Mirisawetiya Raja Maha Viharaya and called on Chief Incumbent of the Temple Ven. Eethalawetunuwewe Gnanathilaka Nayaka Thero.

During the meeting, the President apprised the Nayaka Thero of the steps taken by the government to control the spread of the COVID-19 in the country. The Nayaka Thero said those initiatives receive the blessings of the Maha Sangha.

Later, the President visited the Sri Sambuddha Jayanthi temple in Annuradhapura and called on the Chief Incumbent of the temple Nugetenne Pannayananda Thero and secured the blessings.

While the curfew is in force in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara and Puttalam, the resumption of civilian life and state and private sector activities will begin from Monday, 11th May.

In order to ensure return to normalcy in civilian life and to revive the economy including continuous provision of essential services in these districts, both public and private sector entities should resume their work from Monday, 11th May. Heads of institutes are advised to make necessary arrangements taking into consideration of the required number of employees to run their organizations. Head of each entity should ensure strict adherence to the guidelines issued by the Director General of Health Services and other health authorities to control the spread of COVID – 19 virus while carrying out their operations.

The responsibility to decide who should come to office work and their number lies with head of the each state organization including Departments, Corporations and Boards.  The private sector entities are requested to open for work at 10.00am daily.

As a measure to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus the public must refrain from unnecessarily coming to roads and gathering at various other places. Buses belonging to Sri Lanka Transport Board and railway carriages can only transport employees who are reporting for work.

Civilians except those who are essentially required to report to work are requested to remain in their homes. People are allowed to leave their homes only to purchase essential items such as food and medicines. Corona prevention health recommendations should strictly be followed at each instance. Curfew passes issued by the Police authorities are valid only if the driver and passengers wear facemasks.

Curfew in other districts of the island except in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara and Puttalam will only be effective from 8.00 pm to 5.00am everyday till Wednesday, the 06th of May.

The curfew which will be imposed at 8.00pm on Wednesday, the 06th of May will continue till 5.00am on May 11th.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa enlightened the Maha Sangha on the measures taken by the Government to control the spread of COVID – 19 virus and their progress during a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (24).

President explained about the control of the spread, quarantine process, reliefs granted to people and future measures to revive the national economy.

The support rendered by every segment of the society including health, security and the entire state mechanism in the face of current challenges is enormous, President said.

President stressing the necessity of a strong Parliament to fulfil the aspirations of the people bestowed on him with the landslide victory said that there are no Constitutional powers to reconvene the old Parliament but to convene a new one.

President said that he expects to meet Maha Sangha regularly on 3rd Friday of every month and expressed his anticipation of blessings and guidance of Maha Sangha as he stated in front of Ruwanweli Seya and during the assumption of office.

Nayaka Theros of all three Chapters said that they approve the conduct of the President and the Government.

Stating that the country should not be put in jeopardy by reconvening the old Parliament Maha Sangha unanimously agreed with the decision not to convene the dissolved legislature.

Ven. Niyangoda Vijithasiri Thero said the previous Parliament should take the responsibility for the current financial crisis in the country.

Ven. Thrikunamale Ananda Thero, the Maha Nayaka of the Amarapura Sri Dharmarakshitha Chapter said that when looking at the initiatives taken by the President to prevent the spread of coronavirus as well as for the future, it is clear that there is a new vision being implemented in the country.

Ven. Prof. Medagoda Abayathissa Thero was of the view that the measures implemented by the President to prevent the spread of the coronavirus could be an example for other countries in the world. The young generation of the country and other various groups have invented many new products. ‘This is a golden opportunity for a better future’, the Thero further said. He also said that the Maha Sangha of the country will always support the steps being taken by the President.

Ven. Prof. Indugare Dhammarathana Thero presented a set of proposals comprising 12 points to make the Motherland secure.

Ven. Dr. Diviyagala Yasassi Thero and Ven. Prof. TubulleSeelakkanada Thero pointed out the importance of creating an environment to celebrate the Vesak festival using electronic media while remaining at homes. It was decided to appoint a Committee in this regard.

Maha Nayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter Most Ven. Wendaruwe Upali Thero said that the steps taken by the President to feed the hungry including the beggars are commendable.

The Maha Nayaka Theros and Anu Nayaka Theros representing the Tri-Nikayas and Maha Sangha participated in this meeting.

Page 2 of 39

Latest News

‘ITUKAMA’ COVID – 19 Fund balance surpasses Rs. 1423 million

Jul 02, 2020
Following corporate, individual donations and direct deposits, ‘ITUKAMA’ COVID-19…

President assures to protect artistes and art

Jul 02, 2020
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assured to extend fullest assistance to protect artistes…

President visits sacred Somawathi temple

May 30, 2020
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa visited sacred Somawathi temple premises yesterday (May 30)…

The balance of Itukama COVID – 19 Fund exceeds Rs. 1213 million

May 29, 2020
Following institute and personal donations along with direct deposits, the Itukama…

Additional Rs.16,000 mn loan to pay Rs.5000 benefit for May

May 22, 2020
The Cabinet has approved several proposals made by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to…

Streamline pharmaceutical supplies leaving middlemen out - President

May 22, 2020
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stressed the production and supply of the pharmaceutical…

Itukama Covid-19 fund reaches Rs.1136 million

May 21, 2020
Following institute and personal donations along with direct deposits, the Itukama…

COVID – 19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund continues with ITUKAMA brand name

May 20, 2020
The COVID- 19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund now operates under the brand name…

Speech made by His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the National Ranaviru Day commemorations on May 19th 2020

May 19, 2020
Speech made by His Excellency the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the National Ranaviru…

Sri Lanka Standards Institute prepares guidelines for 11 Covid-19 safety products

May 14, 2020
The Sri Lanka Standards Institute has already formulated standard guidelines for the…