Country is heading towards economic stability - President

Country is heading towards economic stability - President

April 20, 2017   09:06 am

President Maithripala Sirisena says that the country is heading towards a very positive and strong economic stability.
He made the observation while speaking to heads of media organisations in Colombo on Thursday (19).

The President added that the country’s foreign reserves have already exceeded US$ 5 billion and that more economic performances are expected soon.

He stated that these days nobody is talking about the increase in export income or the slashing of drug prices and that even the media are avoiding these topics.  

He said that today the prices of several key pharmaceutical drugs have been reduced significantly in the market and that this is due to the efforts of Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne. 

The President stated that when the incumbent government came into power, the EPF and ETF payments of CTB employees amounting to Rs 12 billion had not been made and that so far the government has now paid Rs 6 billion of that.

In response to accusations that the government is betraying state property and institutions to foreign countries, the President said that the government has done no such thing and will not do any such thing in the future.

He charged that the previous government’s Colombo Port City agreement was the “biggest betrayal in the country’s history” as they were preparing to hand over the outright ownership of 200 hectares of land to foreigners and that the unity government was able to revise these to more acceptable terms.

President Sirisena said that he is prepared to abolish or curtail the Executive Presidency and that there is no change to his January 8 pledge to the nation.  

The President further stated that the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) will be directed to be listed at the Colombo Stock Exchange, and that it will be governed by a separate council. 

He said that according to students, SAITM’s biggest weakness was the fact that it was under sole ownership.

He said that the private medical college in Malabe will be removed from sole ownership and that it will come under a governing board to ensure standards of medical education. 

Minister Rajitha Senaratne, also speaking on the topic, said that the allegations by certain groups that even students with three ‘S’ passes have been enrolled at SAITM is completely untrue. 

The minister said that he can guarantee that there are no students with three S passes in SAITM although such students have been enrolled into government universities. 

He said that there will be changes in state activities within the next two weeks, including changes in heads of state institutions in order to achieve the highest possible performance by the government.

When asked if there is a Cabinet reshuffle in line with these new improvements, he responded saying “see before Vesak Poya.”

While commenting on the tragedy at Meethotamulla, President Sirisena added that a retired judge will be appointed to investigate those responsible for the garbage dump issue and report within one month.

He said that legal action will be initiated against anyone who is found to be responsible for the tragedy. 

He said that it would take at least 9 months to completely shift the garbage away from Meethotamulla. 

The President stated that the 98 houses, each with a value of Rs 4.5 million, will be handed over to those who were displaced by the tragedy and that this will commence within the next 2-3 days. He also said that Rs 250,000 will be allocated for furniture for each home.

He also said that around sixty percent of resettlement in the North has been completed and that the rest is expected to be completed soon.

Responding to questions regarding the Audit Bill, another promise made by the president before elections, he said that the relevant officials have been ordered to take necessary steps to immediately table the bill in Parliament.  

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