Naseby says tri-forces fought terrorism, not Tamils:Dinesh
The Joint Opposition Parliamentary Group Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday, called on the Government to pursue British Parliamentarian Lord Naseby’s speech at the House of Lords with the International Community to counter war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka. Moving an Adjournment Motion in Parliament, the MP stressed that it was the duty of the Government to place Naseby’s statement before the UN Human Rights Council and re-canvass the Resolution against Sri Lanka.
Quoting sections of Naseby’s statement at the UK Parliament in October, the MP pointed out that Naseby had successfully pointed out that the 40,000 civilian deaths in the Darusman Report was a total fabrication, while the real figure was much less than 7,000.
“Naseby had convincingly proven that our tri-forces fought a war against terrorism and that it was not against the Tamil people. He had appealed to the West and in particular, the US and UK, to remove the threat of war crimes and foreign judges that overhangs and overshadows all Sri Lankans and their leaders. Why is the Government silent about this statement? Why not take the lead from Naseby and pursue this matter with Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and with the UN Human Rights Council to change their unjust positions with regard to Sri Lanka?” he questioned.
MP Gunawardena also criticized Deputy Minister Dr Harsha de Silva, stating that the latter had said that Lord Naseby’s statement had no relevance in the current affairs in Geneva. “Dr de Silva had already left for Geneva to represent Sri Lanka at the UPR session. He uttered that Naseby’s statement had no relevance. That is a total let down of the country. I hope Deputy Foreign Minister Wasantha Senanayake would take this message to the President to intervene in this situation even at this late moment,” he said.
JO MP Sisira Jayakody seconded the motion.
Budget has created an entrepreneurial culture:State Minister Abeywardena
A salient feature in this Budget is that it has created a background to establish an entrepreneurial culture in the country, said Enterprise Development State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena.
He said so, joining the Second Reading debate of the Appropriation Bill 2018 in Parliament yesterday.
“This budget has included realistic goals without condemning the past nor dreaming of the future. The world economy does not allow for large scale relief measures. The world economic development is currently at 2%. Even though oil prices have reduced globally, the purchase of goods had declined and the world purchasing power had reduced,” he said.
Abeywardena pointed out that a budget should include a long term vision rather than a short term vision. Entrepreneurship based on economies in the world have succeeded and developed, he said, pointing out that debt has become a long term burden of the country. If the State income is not at least 20%, then it is hard to manage the economy, but he said during the past two years there had been a growth of 41%.
He said the world does not accept that the problem could be resolved by merely expanding State sectors. “The most salient feature expected in this budget was to prepare the backdrop for the creation of an entrepreneurial culture. Malaysia, China and Korea are countries that have prospered as they had uplifted entrepreneurship. It is not possible to manage the economy by merely increasing State income without properly managing its expenditure. We should look at how Singapore had progressed through the exchange economy. Their culture was not destroyed by their open economy. Neither was their security compromised. State income and import income must go hand in hand. Hence, this budget has laid the foundation to promote entrepreneurship,” Minister Abeywardena added.
Govt. planning to privatise Sri Lankan Airlines:Dr Nalinda Jayatissa
The Government is highlighting the debt of Sri Lankan Airlines to prepare people's minds to privatise it, JVP MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa said.
Joining in the Second Reading debate of Budget 2018 in Parliament yesterday, the MP pointed out that the Government had been publishing newspaper advertisements on the debt burden of Sri Lankan Airlines for the sake of changing public opinion in favour of privatising it.
He pointed out under the competitive market economy, country's public institutions have constantly been weakened over the past decades. “Public institutions were sold and neglected.
This Government is doing the same. We object to this budget not because we are against the proposals in it, but because we are against its open economic principles which have been proven a flop,” he commented.
Going by budgetary proposals to convert all Government vehicles either to hybrid or electric vehicles by 2025, the MP suggested the Government not to present supplementary allocations to purchase new vehicles during the next couple of years, but to use up the existing vehicles.
The JVP MP also objected to the proposal to bring down the prices of beer, stating that it would provoke more people to start drinking liquor.
“I request the Government to withdraw this proposal. The statistics of liquor consumption the minister presented were not correct,” he added.
The MP also compared the money allocated to a number of budgetary proposals with the monthly rent the Government is paying to the Agriculture Ministry building in Rajagiriya, which is still unused, adding that two months’ rent of the building is higher than the total amount allocated to many important budgetary proposals.
Govt. attempting to hand over shipping industry to Int'l companies: Rohitha
Through Budget 2018, the government has lifted the 40 - 60 percent ratio of foreign ownership in the shipping industry and presently propose to permit foreign entities full access into the shipping industry which is bound to destroy the local shipping agents businesses, said Kalutara District MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena.
He said so in Parliament yesterday, joining the Second Reading debate of Budget 2018.
“Through this budget the government has hidden its real motives and presented a fancy budget that had cut right into the pressure points of the local shipping industry. There is nothing in this budget that would benefit local farmers, dairy farmers and local businesses. This budget has opened the doors to foreign investors to come in and destroy the local businesses,” he charged.
Abeygunawardena accused the government of completely bringing down the shipping agents and destroying their businesses through the budget. He said around 100,000 jobs are generated through the shipping industry. “Even now without any international assistance these agents are handling the needs of the shipping industry efficiently. They handle import, export procedures and container handling with ease and efficiency. But now the government is trying to hand over the shipping industry to international companies on a platter. So far, they had to operate their businesses through local agents, but at present, they could just stroll in and set up their own companies and in a single stride the government had struck down one of the thriving industries in this country as the shipping industry. Currently, the country earns foreign exchange to the tune of $ 600 - 800 million, but once parent companies set up office here, these transactions would be carried out in those countries and Sri Lanka would lose that income as well.”
He said although the government had promised to provide 100,000 jobs, but now it seems like they the government is trying to destroy the existing jobs as well.
'Ministry ready to accept viable energy generation project'
The Power and Renewable Energy Ministry is ready accept anybody's viable renewable energy generation project using hot water springs, said Power and Renewable Energy Deputy Minister Ajith P Perera yesterday.
He said that if there is one with such a project proposal viable and practical, he would be most welcome by the Ministry. "What such a person has to do is to meet him and not make facebook posts that his project was rejected by the authorities," said Deputy Minister Perera. He made these observations yesterday in Parliament during the round of questions for oral answers to a query raised by JVP parliamentarian Nihal Galappatti.
MP Galappatti charged that the facebook had posts on a person who is ready to migrate from Sri Lanka for there was none to accept his project proposal to generate power using hot watersprings.
Details of foreigners at Voice of America will be provided:Alagiyawanna
Mass Media and Megapolis Deputy Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna promised to provide Parliament with details of all foreigners who worked at the Voice of America’s transmission center at Iranawila.
He made this pledge, responding to a question raised by JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake during the round of questions for oral answers.
Deputy Minister Alagiyawanna said the Voice of America had suspended its operations in Iranawila with effect from Dec. 31, 2016. The Voice of America started its operations since 1985. It had been given 672 acres and 3 roods of land in Iranawila as per the provisions of an agreement dated January 15, 1985 between the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Service and the US Government. He also said the agreement was later amended on Dec 09, 1991 and the land area was reduced to 408 acres. The land had been given to the Voice of America on a lease basis. It had paid Rs. 40,000 per month at the beginning and slightly increased the amount been paid as lease. As at December last year, the payment was Rs 100,000.
Deputy Minister Alagiyawanna: The transmission station is closed. Land has now been taken under the government. Some of its property had been given to the SLBC. Some vehicles were given to Telecom and the Divisional Secretariat of the area. There is a proposal to develop the land as a tourism zone.
(Daily News )