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(This article was originally published in Daily FT on 13th August 2016)

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya blasted the Joint Opposition members yesterday, highlighting their unruly behavior, which heated the House on Thursday disturbing the motion for the Office on Missing Persons.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya

According to the Speaker, the Joint Opposition’s disorderly actions received wide media publicity degrading the Parliament supremacy. “A media reported singing songs, dancing, and using abusive language inside the Chamber during the debate. I was shocked reading this report. Yesterday, I urged MP Bandula Gunawardena not to walk into the well of this Chamber. I have urged him on several occasions before. What should we say when the Parliament supremacy is degraded? We all should be ashamed. Lipton Circus, Fort railway Station, and Hyde Park is there if you want to behave violently. Remember not to mix-up the things that you do in the toilet and the kitchen,” said Speaker.

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(This article was originally published in Daily FT on 11th August 2016)

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday gave a sweeping evaluation of the economy in Parliament, warning that debt could rise further while announcing a new tax system in 2017 and reassuring stakeholders that Indian nationals would not be allowed to work in Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Responding to questions, Wickremesinghe recapped the challenging macroeconomic environment inherited by the Government in 2015 and elaborated on fresh plans laid out by his administration. He also clarified the process the Government had engaged in with the Chinese Government to make the Port City project more viable and profitable for Sri Lanka.  He noted that the fresh agreement to be signed with the Chinese company would be presented in Parliament along with a special statement to be made by Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka.

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(This article was originally published in Daily FT on 11th August 2016)

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Parliament yesterday justified the Government’s decision to continue the Port City project despite promising in an political manifesto to the public that it would be halted.

Port City Project

Port City Project

“We have decided to sign an agreement which will develop the country and uplift the economy. But with the previous Government’s agreement we had to pay a considerable demurrage if the project was discontinued. By that time the Chinese company had also made a considerable investment. However, we came to an agreement with them to remove the demurrage claim. There will be a requirement of 3.45 million cubic meters of rocks for the Port City project and it was obtained from licensed quarries in the Colombo and Gampaha districts. Sand is pumped from the sea 4 km away from the beach. It is estimated that Rs. 1.83 billion will be spent for the rock and Rs. 117.14 billion will be spent for the sand,” he said.

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(This article was originally published in Daily FT on 11th August 2016)

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

A controversial coal tender has brought in profits according to the findings of a special committee which compiled a report on the tender procedure, Minister of Power and Renewable Energy Ranjith Siyambalapitiya confirmed yesterday in a special statement to Parliament.

Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya

Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya

Revealing the committee findings to Parliament, he said: “The ministry has introduced the tender mechanism, which has saved $ 7.6 million. However, the ministry is making use of a mix of the regular tender system and the spot tender system to assure source diversity and supply security. Based on global price fluctuations it was important to maintain a mix of the purchasing system.”

In the report, the committee has recommended including technical specifications on larger and smaller pieces of coal in the bidding process.

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