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Sunday December 3rd, 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 UGC wants to boost number of IT-related degrees

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s University Grants Commission is of the view to boost the number of Information Technology (IT) related degrees in state universities with an aim to pave the way for a digital economy.

Sri Lanka’shigher education system has been producing more graduates in Arts stream while the degrees in highly demanded IT and other engineering services are being looked at only now.

“We do have a high demand for engineering, science, AI, computer and electronical engineering

studies,” Chairman of University Grants Commission, Sampath Amaratunga, told reporters at aa media briefing on Friday

“However, while avoiding neglecting the humanities, we should develop new IT skills.”

Amaratunga confirmed that a student who studied in any stream could obtain an IT degree, including students who studied in the arts stream.

The UGC data show that out of 18,490 engineering technology stream students who sat for their Advanced Levels (A/L) in 2022, 10634 were eligible for university.

“Even streams like agriculture should be encouraged to use technology,” Amaratunga said. (Colombo/Dec 2/2023)

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Sri Lanka leader inaugurates Climate Justice Forum at COP28 in Dubai

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe launched Climate Justice Forum (CJF) at the ongoing 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) held in Dubai in a move to gather support for vulnerable nations hit by climate-change led disasters.

This year’s climate summit held in Dubai’s EXPO2020 features a raft of issues for countries working to find common ground in tackling climate change, including whether to phase out fossil fuels and how to finance the energy transition in developing countries.

Wickremesinghe inaugurated the Climate Justice Forum at COP28 on Saturday and emphasized the critical importance of addressing climate issues with a sense of justice and equity.

The President had been in talks with many nations vulnerable to climate change disasters including African and South American countries to get their support for the CJF.

The move is to compel advanced and developed countries to look into the poor nations hit by the climate changes and help them to get over economic and debt burdens by either investing more in green energy initiatives or writing off debts to ease financial pressure.

Sri Lanka, which is now facing an unprecedented economic crisis, has seen increasing losses and damages, both human lives and physical properties due to climate change-led disasters like floods, drought, and earth slips.

In his speech at the COP28 forum, Wickremesinghe on Friday said the Climate Justice Forum will provide a platform for constructive and proactive engagements. (Dubai/Dec 2/2023)

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Sri Lanka IMF review goes to executive board on December 12

ECONOMYNEXT – The first review of Sri Lanka’s International Monetary Fund program is scheduled to go the lender’s Executive Board for consideration on December 12.

Sri Lanka officials were expecting the review to be completed in December as soon as official creditors gave their assurances.

According to the notice Sri Lanka had missed one performance criterion and has requested modifications.

Sri Lanka has outperformed on a number of quantity targets including inflation. In addition to quantity PCs there was also one non-accumulation of arrears.

There would also be re-phasing of access. The review was originally expected around September with another review based on December data, leading to September and March disbursements.

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