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UNP refutes claim of turning Dompe into a ‘garbage dump’

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 30 August 2018 01:07

By Rahel Kirinde

The UNP yesterday sought to dismiss claims by the Joint Opposition (JO) that the Singapore-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement would be used to establish a waste disposal factory in the Dompe area, hindering the initial purpose of the agreement.

UNP MP Harshana Rajakaruna speaking at UNP Headquarters Sirikotha alleged that Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama had made false remarks that the FTA would be used to bring waste material from Singapore and a waste management factory would be established in the Dompe area.

“It was clearly stated in the relevant Cabinet paper that a non-profit higher education institute would be built in the Keragala region of Dompe, that was it and it was approved by the Cabinet,” he said, reaffirming that there was no intention of building a garbage factory and turning the area into a waste dump. “We have two committees regarding the FTA, it is well-regulated and any changes will be done if and when necessary.”

Alternatively MP Rajakaruna also mentioned that any issues of waste management within Singapore as mentioned in The Business Times of Singapore did not have any association to Sri Lanka and would have no impact on the country or the agreement. “The article didn’t have the slightest citing of Sri Lanka, it can in no way be linked to the FTA,” he said. 

Speaking on the terms of the agreement Rajakaruna noted that the FTA did not supersede the existing laws of the country on the import and export of goods to and from Singapore. “All former legal necessities prior to the signing of the FTA will prevail, such as the requirement of an import license and approval from the Central Environmental Authority,” he said, adding that approval would not be given to import goods that could potentially harm the country.

He specified that the FTA would only act to permit certain tax exemptions and zero tariff policies on listed goods. “There are firm laws and regulations in the country and they should be complied with as done previously, all former requirements will remain,” he asserted.

Clarifying the reason for the enlistment of unconventional goods in the FTA, MP Rajakaruna noted that certain goods were enlisted as they were traditionally included in other agreements such as the Indo-Sri Lanka FTA and the Pakistan-Sri Lanka FTA but did not portray the practicality of importing or exporting those goods.

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