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Thilan Wijesinghe to head National Agency for Public Private Partnership

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin

Thilan Wijesinghe

The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) in a proactive directive has called on Thilan Wijesinghe, former Chairman/DG of the Board of Investment to head a cohesive new agency called 'National Agency for Public Private Partnership. An initiative by the Finance Ministry and International Trade Ministry, this is hailed as an excellent move by the government to stimulate the economy and bring together the private sector partner the public sector. Public – Private Partnerships (P3s) are a long-term performance-based approach to procuring public infrastructure where the private sector assumes a major share of the risks in terms of financing and construction and ensuring effective performance of the infrastructure, from design and planning, to long-term maintenance.

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, TSL with files from Sri Lanka media outlets.

A high-powered ‘National Agency for Public Private Partnership’ was appointed to fast-track Sri Lanka’s economic development agenda, yesterday (July 11, 2017). The agency will be empowered with a wide range of legal, financial and administrative authority. The Cabinet granted approval to appoint former BOI Chairman and business professional Thilan Wijesinghe as the head of the new agency.

The Cabinet paper with regard to the establishment of the new agency was jointly submitted by Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrema. The new agency will replace the division which operated under the Finance Ministry to handle certain areas with regard to Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

At the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, the Cabinet members observed that a division of a ministry was inadequate to carry out the functions of promoting and executing projects based on PPPs, as it had only limited authority.

Under the new arrangement, PPP agreements will be carried out by this national agency with adequate legal, administrative and financial authority. It will also have additional powers to identify suitable projects based on feasibility studies and maintain a ‘project pipeline’ in consultation with government ministries.

According to the Cabinet decision on Tuesday, the board of directors of the new agency will consist of seven professionals with vast experience in the public and private sectors. The cabinet also decided to allocate Rs. 100 million from the Treasury to meet initial expenses when setting up the agency.

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Use of polythene, rigifoam, shopping bags banned effective September 2017

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin

Central Environment Authority (CEA) has banned the use of polythene lunch sheets, rigifoam boxes and shopping bags, with effect from 1st of September. The Government yesterday decided to impose a ban on the use, sale and production of polythene, including commonly used lunch sheets from September this year, following a proposal presented by the expert committee appointed to develop a national action plan on the management of polythene use and minimising its environmental impact.  

In a bid to make Sri Lanka polythene-free and find a sustainable solution to solid waste management, President Maithripala Sirisena has announced a number of measures including the ban on the import, manufacture and sale of lunch sheets and a ban on the use of polythene for decorations.

Cabinet approval was granted on Tuesday for a series of measures proposed by the President in his capacity as the Minister of Mahaweli Development and Environment to gradually end the use of polythene and thus minimize its environmental impact.

While banning polythene use for decorations the manufacture, sale and use of polythene of 20 microns or less for essential activities on the approval of the Central Environmental Authority (CEA).

The short term measures also include the ban on the manufacture, import or sale of containers, plates, cups, spoons made of polystyrene, the ban on the sale of processed or cooked meals packed in polythene containers and the promotion of paper, cloth or reed bags or biologically degradable plastics for customers when purchasing items in stores, prohibition of burning polythene and plastic in open places introduction and promotion of biologically degradable polythene and plastics.

Tax concessions would be provided to import machinery for the manufacture of biologically degradable plastic and a cess tax of 15% on the import of plastic raw material and goods.

In the long term the use of recycled plastic products would be banned.

Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the reporters at the weekly cabinet news briefing yesterday that the short term measures will be effective from Tuesday after the proposals were approved by the Cabinet.

The long and medium term measures need legislative approval for their implementation and therefore it takes time.

(Courtesy: Mainstream media in Sri Lanka).

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ESALA WEERAKOON IS SRI LANKA’S NEW FOREIGN SECRETARY

Posted on 04 August 2016 by admin

 

New Foreign Secretary Esala Weerakoon received his letter of appointment from P. B, Abeykoon, Secretary to President Maithripala Sirisena Esala Weerakoon assumed office as Sri Lanka’s new Foreign Secretary in Colombo on Monday (August 1). Weerakoon has been Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India for a little over eight months. He succeeds Ms. Chitranganee Wagiswara who in a reverse appointment moved to New Delhi as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India.

Having joined the Sri Lanka Foreign Service in 1998, Weerakoon has served as High Commissioner to India, Ambassador to Norway, High Commissioner to Seychelles, Charge d’ Affaires at Sri Lanka Embassies in Washington DC and in Tokyo in addition to several other postings that include London, Canberra, Kuala Lumpur and Paris. During his tenure of service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs he has served in different capacities including as the Director General of Economic Affairs Division and the Director General of East Asia & Pacific Division. He has also held office as Additional Secretary (External Relations) at the Ministry of Economic Development and as Additional Secretary (Special Projects) at the Ministry of Housing & Samurdhi.

A past student of Royal College, Colombo and a graduate in Economics from the University of Kelaniya, High Commissioner Weerakoon is also an alumni of the London School of Economics and the University of London, where he pursued his post-graduate studies. He is the only child of legendary former civil servant Bradman Weerakoon, who has served, during his career, under nine Prime Ministers and Presidents of Sri Lanka, including current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

According to media reports from India, he and his wife Krishanti flew back home on Saturday night. On Friday night, Indian Foreign Secretary Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar hosted a dinner for Weerakoon and his wife at the elegant Hyderabad House, and wished Weerakoon all success in his new assignment. He said India is ready to offer whatever assistance Sri Lanka needs, and invited Weerakoon to be in regular touch with him. Augurs well for bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.

At 55 years Weerakoon is one of the youngest to hold the office of Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is held in high esteem in the Foreign Ministry and by the government of Sri Lanka.

BY: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, TSL

He is married to Krishanti, New Delhi-born daughter of Bernard Tilakaratna, also a former Sri Lanka High Commissioner to India and Foreign Secretary, who was a distinguished public servant. The couple has a daughter and a son.

The outgoing Foreign Secretary Chitranganee Wagiswara is well known to us here in Canada having served in Ottawa twice – once in the nineties and more recently as Sri Lanka High Commissioner. She is the senior most foreign service officer in the ministry. Besides holding several senior posts within the Foreign Ministry, she also served as Ambassador in France, High Commissioner in Singapore and served in the U.K. Italy and was Sri Lanka’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. A pretty impressive career spanning over 30 years.

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