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Tuesday September 26th, 2023

Sri Lanka may consider increased fuel quotas for police-registered tuktuks

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ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka can consider increasing fuel quotas for full time threewheeler (tuktuk) drivers who register themselves at their local police stations, Power & Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekara said.

Responding to questions posed by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa in parliament on Tuesday September 06, Wijesekara said that initial steps have been taken to increase the five-litres-per-week fuel quota issued to threewheeler drivers who have installed a meter on their vehicle and are registered with their local police station.

“We asked them to register with the police because it will make it easier to identify those who drive threewheelers as a full time business,” Wijesekara said.

Threewheeler drivers in the country have been complaining of the meagre fuel quota, saying that it is not adequate to run hires, after allegedly contributing to the fuel shortage by mass hoarding and black market activities during a forex crisis that made it difficult to import essentials. 

Threewheeler fares have also gone steeply up.

Premadasa questioned why certain organisations who hire out threewheelers as a business get a fuel quota of 15 litres a week when independent drivers only get five.

“You must think of the common man too,” Premadasa said.

Wijesekara replied that the change was done according to the requests of various threewheeler associations, after discussions. 

“Though the quotas are not enough when compared to the unlimited fuel given before the economic crisis, due to the unavailability of forex we have no other choice. Finding solutions in a short time has also been difficult,” Wijesekara said.

Wijesekara said that the fuel quotas were decided after examining the number of registered vehicles in the country as well as their tank capacity and how far they can run on a certain level of fuel.

It was decided to give priority to the manufacturing, public transport, fisheries, agriculture, and essential services industries, who play a significant role in the food security, public transport, and economic activities of the country, he said.

Ceylon Transport Board buses, private buses and trains were given prominence in the transport sector, he said.

It was estimated that Sri Lanka would need at least 3,000 MT of petrol to cover the daily needs. 

Wijesekara also responded to a question by Premadasa regarding financial relief for threewheeler drivers who were unable to earn enough to even pay off their leases due to the lack of sufficient fuel.

He said that the CBSL had already paved the way for fair interest rates and relief facilities. (Colombo/Sep06/2022)

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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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