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Sri Lanka and Japan recently signed a Memorandum on Defence Cooperation which facilitates and develops cooperation and exchanges between the two countries in the field of defence on the basis of mutual interest.

The memorandum was signed by State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene and Japanese State Defence Minister Kenji Harada, who visited Sri Lanka from July 25 to 26.

During his stay, State Minister Harada also paid a courtesy call on President Maithripala Sirisena.

From the viewpoint of securing the freedom and security of navigation and flight, the Japanese government will promote cooperation with Sri Lanka, which is located at a strategically important point in the Indian Ocean.

Such cooperation includes high-level exchanges, capacity building assistance and consultations.

State Minister Harada also visited St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade, and Shangri-La Hotel as a mark of respect to the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks. Source: DN

The Finance Ministry sponsored four-day Enterprise Sri Lanka national exhibition in Anuradhapura at the Walisinghe Harischandra Stadium, ended on Saturday.

The exhibition which began on July 24, saw around 500,000 visitors, mainly schoolchildren and youth.

Speaking to the media and audience on Saturday, State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne said the government’s Enterprise Sri Lanka programme was the best opportunity extended by any government for encouraging amateur entrepreneurs. Enterprise Sri Lanka and Gamperaliya were two revolutionary economically uplifting programmes in the country.

“With Enterprise Sri Lanka, we aim to make the country a paradise for small and medium-scale entrepreneurs. This innovative programme focuses on enterprising young self-employed farmers and innovators identified as the backbone of economic development in the country. These two national economic development programmes will help us to substantially raise per capita income, while helping to create one million new jobs and maintain the GDP above five percent,” the State Minister said.

“For the first time, we have provided loans under such low interest rates for enterprise development, for the public. If a person thought that he couldn’t achieve prosperity through obtaining a loan under the Enterprise Sri Lanka programme, he would never gain another opportunity to obtain a loan at such low interest in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Treasury Secretary R.H.S. Samaratunga said the Enterprise Sri Lanka exhibition in Anuradhapura has been a great success having paved way for 20,000 amateur entrepreneurs in the district with the strength to take the country towards an export-oriented economy. Under the Enterprise Sri Lanka subsidised loan scheme, 55,000 rising local entrepreneurs have been granted loan facilities worth Rs. 88 billion.

At the closing ceremony, Anuradhapura Government Agent R.M. Wanninayake handed over the official scroll indicating that the second Enterprise Sri Lanka exhibition which was held in Anuradhapura had successfully ended and that the third exhibition would be held in the Jaffna district, to the Jaffna Government Agent N. Vedanayagam in the presence of Jaffna district Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran.

Wanninayake said that nearly 500,000 had visited the exhibition during the four days from 24–27 and there were large number of requests from the public for extending the exhibition for a few more days.

Ministers Ranjith Maddhumabandara, P. Harrison, and Chandrani Bandara were also present on the occasion.  Source: Daily News


President Maithripala Sirisena says Sri Lanka is very keen to expand defence cooperation with Japan. He said this when Japanese State Minister of Defence, Kenji Harada called on him at the President’s Official Residence in Colombo (July 26).

The President said that as both countries are interested in maritime security, Japan and Sri Lanka should further increase cooperation between the two navies to ensure international maritime security as well as safety and security of international waters. He thanked the visiting Japanese Minister for longstanding development assistance provided to Sri Lanka by Japan.

President Sirisena said that the existing close cooperation in naval sector should also be expanded to the army and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries would be helpful for increasing cooperation. The MoU on defence cooperation was signed by the visiting State Minister and his counterpart, Ruwan Wijewardane at the Ministry of Defence.

President Sirisena, referring to the tripartite agreement reached between Sri Lanka, Japan and India to develop the Eastern Terminal of Colombo Port said that it was very important step to develop the capacity of the Port of Colombo.

State Minister Kenji Harada said that defence and economic cooperation between Japan and Sri Lanka has made rapid progress in recent years and said that the cooperation between two navies cover joint naval operations, training and logistics. Referring to Sri Lanka’s strategic placement in the Indian Ocean, he emphasized the importance of maritime cooperation between Sri Lanka and Japan as oceans are of utmost importance to both the countries.

Secretary to the President, Udaya R Seniviratne, Japanese Ambassador Akira Sugiyama, Director of Japanese Defence Cooperation and Exchanges, Masakazu Takahashi and Executive Assistant to State Minister, Hiroshi Kokubo were also present on this occasion.

The second Enterprise Sri Lanka Exhibition organised by the Government with the objective of transforming Sri Lanka into an ‘Entrepreneur Paradise’ will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Anuradhapura Walisinghe Harischandra Grounds today (July 24).
The Exhibition will continue for four days until July 27. The exhibition will zones presenting exhibits from seven different sectors, namely the Entrepreneurs zone, State and Private Sector zone, Education zone, Green zone, Innovative Productions zone and, Media zone.
The Media zone featuring a majority of the country’s electronic and print media institutions, would be of special interest as they create public awareness about the duties and responsibilities of the media sector, Media Ministry Secretary Sunil Samaraweera told news media.
Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd (Lake House) is already actively creating public awareness about Sri Lankan entrepreneurship and the country’s socio – economic development process through its many Sinhala, Tamil, and English language newspapers and periodicals. Source: Daily News
media zone

In order to retain billions of Rupees that we spent annually to import milk powder and to create a healthy young generation it is imperative to empower and strengthen local dairy farmers, President Maithripala Sirisena said.

President made these comments at the launching ceremony of ‘Kiren Sapiri Dayak’, aims at providing a pack of liquid milk to every child at Kajugaswatte Shasthrodaya Vidyalaya in Nivitigala, Ratnapura today (23).

The programme launched under Grama Shakthi People’s Movement together with Ministries of Education, Health and the Livestock Department and many other public and private stakeholders will provide a packet of standard liquid milk instead of sweetened milk to around 600,000 selected primary students island-wide. The Cargills and Milco will supply the milk and a simultaneous programme to recycle used milk packets has also been implemented.

Speaking further President said that a healthy and intelligent nation is the victory of a country. He further said it is not a good condition if a 15% of the population suffer from malnutrition. He also stressed the importance of promoting the consumption of liquid milk in the challenge of creating a healthy population.

Furthermore, it is one of the objectives of this programme to reduce the poverty level in rural areas and by achieving a good economic growth through strengthening the rural dairy farmers.

Under President Sirisena’s concept of creating a ‘Nutritious young generation of a nation bountiful with milk,’ the Programme is coupled with a plan to boost local milk production by providing incentives to dairy farmers.

The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a Cabinet Paper presented by the President and allocated Rs. 1,000 million to initiate the programme. Of the 1.7 million schoolchildren in Grades 1 to 5, more than half a million will receive a sachet of milk each, on every school day.

Under this Private Public Partnership (PPP) programme, small and middle level entrepreneurs in villages will be able to set up milk production units at village level with the support of the private sector.

The school milk program is to be augmented by the Grama Shakthi village empowerment programme. It is proposed to provide 15,000 cattle to selected 7,500 villagers to ensure continuous milk supply. Private sector companies that will produce the sachets will enter into buy-back agreements with the Grama Shakthi village units.

The Grama Shakthi People’s movement aims at empowering people by initiating joint ventures between the village committees and private sector companies. Initially, the Government will provide funds to the village committees for technological support and buyback arrangements with the private sector. Once the project is launched, the Government will not intervene and it will be entirely for the village committees to carry out the project and reap the benefit.

Milk production is expected to increase with the additional demand for milk. The current production is around one third of the requirement and the balance is met with imported milk powder. More than 100,000 metric tons of powdered milk is imported annually at a cost of over US$ 380 million.

The school milk program has multiple aims as it envisages increasing the nutrition level of children in the country and making Sri Lanka self-sufficient in liquid milk by strengthening the local dairy industry. 

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