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Tuesday September 26th, 2023

Sri Lanka aims to boost jobs for disabled; targets 10% in 2023

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has aimed at boosting employment opportunities for people with disabilities, targeting 10 percent this year from the current 3 percent, State Social Empowerment Minister Anupa Pasqual has said.

The government data show around 4 percent of the island nation’s 22 million population has some disability while the government has increased the allocations for the disabled to empower them.

Pasqual said the education aid stipend has been doubled to 20,000 rupees, employment assistance allowances are increased to 45,000 rupees from 25,000, and housing allowances have also been raised to 250,000 rupees from 150,000.

“Our aim is to increase the employed people with disability to at least 10 percent this year from the 3 percent. That is our goal,” Pasqual said.

“If you take a country like Singapore, around 30 percent of the disabled are either self employed or have jobs. If you consider Sri Lanka, our data show it is only 3 percent.

“What we are trying to do is to increase employment for the disabled. The number of employed disabled people is very low. Most of them are looked after by their relatives. If we empower them, we can increase the employed disabled to 30 percent from the current 3 percent.”

A new Disability Bill, aimed at safeguarding the rights of the entire disabled community, will be presented to Parliament this year while the government is also looking at harnessing
technology to empower the disabled as they have the potential to make meaningful
contributions to the country’s economic growth,Pasqual said.

The forthcoming disability bill aims to reduce disabled people’s dependence on government support and the bill is expected to be passed in Parliament by year-end, he said.

“The comprehensive legislation seeks to ensure the protection of the rights of disabled
individuals and their empowerment within society. This includes providing access, education
and technology to all members of the disabled community,” the State Minister said.

“The government plans to integrate disabled students with their peers rather than segregating them, facilitating the implementation of this inclusive program.” (Colombo/September 19/2023)

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Sri Lanka cabinet okays appropriation bill for 2024 budget

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had approved a draft Appropriation Act for 2024, the state information office said.

The Finance Minister’s proposal to gazette the bill and table it in parliament was approved by the cabinet.

Presenting the appropriation bill is the first stage of presenting a budget for 2024,

The appropriation bills set outs the expenditure plans for each ministry.

The budget proposals, made in November is called the second reading of the Appropriation Act. (Colombo/Sept24/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s MEPA to get 28.5 mn rupees from Singaporean AEPW, for beach clean up

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is to receive 5.7 million rupees a year, for five years, from Singapore-based marine waste solutions provider, Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), to maintain 8 beach cleaner machines.

The donation is meant to support MEPA clean coastal areas across Sri Lanka, using BeachTech Hydro Sweepy beach cleaner machines, previously donated by the organisation.

The oil industry-founded non-governmental organisation donated the 8 beach cleaners worth about US$180,000 to MEPA in the wake of the 2021 MV X-press Pearl ship disaster.

The machines manufactured by Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG, a German company, are effective at cleaning up plastic nurdles and other types of potentially harmful non-biodegradable waste, minimising human contact with hazardous materials.

As a significant amount of money is spent for the deployment of these machines for beach cleaning activities, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste has agreed to provide the funds for the upkeep of the machines for a period of five years.

With this financial donation, the Maritime Environment Protection Authority will be able to continue using these machines without interruption to clean identified beaches in the future. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s SEC makes four new appointments

ECONOMYNEXT – The Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC) made four new additions from diverse backgrounds to its leadership.

These appointments are expected to increase the effectiveness of the SEC secretariat in the respective operating areas, the SEC said.

Manuri Weerasinghe, with over 20 years of experience in accounting, financial management, financial reporting and auditing, was appointed Director, Corporate Affairs.

She is a Fellow Member of CA Sri Lanka, member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and a member of the Certified Practicing Accountants of Australia.

Her academic credentials include a Master of Business Administration and a BSc (Hons) in Accountancy and Financial Management (Special).

Prior to joining the SEC, she served in several financial management positions in Bermuda and Sweden.

Madura P R Wanigasekara was appointed Chief Digital Officer. He has over 20 years delivering and managing IT solutions, and has held several senior management positions in the public and private sectors.

His academic qualifications include a Master of Science in Information Technology from the University of Colombo and a Bachelor of Information Technology from the Curtin University of Technology.

He is also a member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS).

Sharmila Panditaratne was appointed Assistant Director, Legal and Enforcement.

She is an Attorney-at-Law with over 21 years of experience as a securities market regulator.

She holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Houston, Texas and has worked at two law firms in the USA prior to joining the SEC.

Riyaz Bary, Deputy Solicitor General at the Attorney General’s Department was appointed a Director on secondment basis. (Colombo/Sep26/2023)

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