President gets tough, tells officials to comply

Saturday, 16 May 2020 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

 President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

  • State institutions should be maintained without burdening Treasury
  • Insists all State institutions should comply with Govt. policies, State officials who fail to do so are “burden” to nation
  • Irrational laws cannot be allowed to impede SL economy: President 
  • Says issues between the State Timber Corporation and State Plantations Corporation should be resolved through discussions and not court cases
  • Of 800 cases filed by the Land Reforms Commission, 300 against Plantations Corporation
  • Emphasises plantation crops unsuitable for SL should be removed
  • Will not withdraw decision to suspend ethanol imports

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday dished out a tough message to public officials at a meeting insisting they should comply with Government directives and policies or risk becoming a “burden” to the nation. 

According to a statement released by the President’s Media Division (PMD) Rajapaksa had said that “irrational laws” should not obstruct policies formulated to achieve the economic objectives of the people. He had also added public officials have to dedicate themselves to resolving issues through discussions and implementing directives issued by the Government. 

The President was quoted as stating this during a discussion with officials and ministry secretaries attached to the plantation industry at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday. The meeting was called to find solutions to a number of issues rooted in the plantation industry. 

President Rajapaksa stressed that the State and affiliated institutions should not resort to legal measures and instead resolve their issues through discussion. Long-rooted legal issues between the State Timber Corporation and the Sri Lanka State Plantations Corporation were discussed in depth. 

The President also emphasised the importance of removing the plantations that are not suitable to the country or harmful to environmental conservation of Sri Lanka and planting the crops most suitable to the country. “State institutions should be maintained without burdening the Treasury. It should not take long to present these strategies. Mutual understanding among State institutions and proper awareness about State policies will ensure that there would not be any conflicts among institutions.” 

“When a government makes the right decision with regard to a State policy, all State institutions should comply. There should be no room to withhold carrying out the right thing. The State official who does not execute the right thing is a burden to this nation. The State official is an individual who resolves issues and not neglects them,” President Rajapaksa stressed.

The President noted that a decision was taken to cease the importation of ethanol which had been “traumatising the economy” for a long time, and he added that he would not withdraw his decision due to any influence from businessmen. It was revealed during the meeting that State institutions had to resort to legal action as the affiliated institutions had not properly discussed their issues with each other. 

It came to light that the Land Reforms Commission has filed over 800 cases and 300 out of them were against the Plantation Corporation. Plantations Minister Ramesh Pathirana and Secretary to the President Dr. P.B Jayasundera were also present at the discussion.

President’s COVID-19 Fund balance surpasses Rs. 1 b 

Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and Mobitel Ltd. yesterday donated Rs. 50 million to the President’s COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund pushing the total past Rs. 1 billion, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said in a statement.

Sri Lanka Telecom Chairman Rohan Fernando handed over the cheque for this sum to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.

Mobitel Chief Executive Officer Nalin Perera and other members of the Board of Directors were also present at this occasion.

The National Medicines Regulatory Authority has donated Rs. 50 million to the Fund. The cheque for this sum was handed over to President Rajapaksa while Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi and top officials of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority were present.

The other donations made to the Fund included Rs. 10 million by Naturub Industries Ltd., Rs. 300,000 by the High Court Judges Association, Rs. 100,000 by Ticil Coorey, Rs. 1 million by Association of former Cabinet ministry secretaries, Rs. 1 million by Sri Lanka Podujana Engineering Front, Rs. 2 million by Football Federation of Sri Lanka, Rs. 1.2 million by Bharti Airtel Lanka Ltd., Rs. 1 million by Certis Lanka Security Solution Ltd., Rs. 1 million by Richard Fernando, and Rs. 50,000 by S.A. Samaratunga. 

The Fund’s balance has now reached Rs. 1064.4 million.

All the donations will be credited to the special account opened under the number 85737373 at the Corporate Branch of the Bank of Ceylon. Local as well as foreign donors have made their contributions to the Fund. Donations to COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund have been exempted from taxes and foreign exchange regulations. Deposits can be made through cheques or telegraphic transfers. 

Further details can be obtained from Presidential Secretariat Director General (Administration) Major General (Ret.) K.B. Egodawele, through the telephone number 011-2354479/011-2354354.