Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wants the Treasury to allocate Rs 300 million to the Health Ministry for the “immediate purchase of several sophisticated equipment” to ensure “effective treatment of dengue patients.” The move follows a recommendation by a four-member official committee headed by Premier’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake. It was appointed by the Cabinet Committee on [...]


Dengue treatment: Rs. 300 million for sophisticated equipment


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe wants the Treasury to allocate Rs 300 million to the Health Ministry for the “immediate purchase of several sophisticated equipment” to ensure “effective treatment of dengue patients.”

The move follows a recommendation by a four-member official committee headed by Premier’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake. It was appointed by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) which is chaired by the Prime Minister.
Premier Wickremesinghe has also made a string of other recommendations on tackling dengue. Here are these recommendations:

  • Strictly enforce the Circular issued by the Presidential Secretary holding all heads of government agencies accountable for having dengue-free office premises.
  • The Education Ministry to have dengue prevention programmes in schools with the participation of parents and students.
  • The Western Province has employed field workers to have house-to-house supervision. This should be expanded to other provinces as required.
  • The Finance and Mass Media Ministry to produce and broadcast suitable short video/audio clips to educate the people on the importance of preventing dengue.
  • Training of 2000 Army personnel for immediate care of dengue patients with the help of the Ministry of Health.
  • The Medical Officer of Health (MOH), The Local Authority, the Divisional Secretary and the Police Station in the area to work together to implement a proper dengue prevention programme.

The official Committee has also decided to procure “what is available in the local market” through emergency procurement procedure.

Mangala brings anniversary cake for Ranil
In what seemed a strong display of loyalty, Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera turned up at the Presidential Secretariat for last Tuesday’s cabinet meeting with a cake.

The occasion was the 40th anniversary of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s entry into mainstream politics
Both President Sirisena and Premier Wickremesinghe cut the cake together whilst the ministers clapped. There were enough pieces to go around the 40 plus cabinet of ministers.

Withana to head Tourism Task Force
The Cabinet of Ministers has decided to establish a dedicated unit for the Tourism Task Force.
It will be headed by Paddy Withana as the Executive Director. Mr Withana, who was till recently the Chairman of the Tourism Authority and a career hotelier, will also serve as advisor to the Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs. The Minister in charge is Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Dengue battle: Experts brief Cabinet
Just two weeks ago, two dengue experts made presentations before the Cabinet of Ministers.
One was Dr Bhupender Nagpal, Technical Officer of the World Health Organisation (WHO). He spoke on the life cycle of the dengue mosquito, its breeding process, methods of transmission of dengue virus and the unusual breeding sites the public would have to be vigilant about.

The second was Dr J.M.W. Jayasundara Bandara, Director General of Health Services. He spoke on the salient features of the Action Plan initiated by the Health Ministry to reduce the spread of dengue. The plan seeks to minimise the incidence of the epidemic by half over a period of four weeks.

Ministerial team to review Glyphosate issue
A four-member ministerial team will examine findings of an official committee on the use of Glyphosate in the control of weeds in tea estates.

It is headed by Science, Technology and Research Minister Susil Premajayantha and includes ministers Rajitha Senaratne, Navin Dissanayake and Duminda Dissanayake.

The use of Glyphosate is now banned. The ministerial team will also go into the prospects of using methodology adopted in other tea producing countries.

House as lottery super prize
The National Lotteries Board is to offer a house as the “super prize” in the Sevana Lottery draw.
The move, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, follows a recommendation by Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake. The NLB comes under his purview as it did when he was holding the Finance portfolio.

Kariyawasam: President’s choice as Foreign Secretary
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, who is now serving an extended term in Washington DC, will be the next Foreign Secretary. He will assume duties on August 15. Appointed to Washington by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he will succeed Esala Weerakoon, a career diplomat who is moving over as Secretary to the Tourism Ministry. He is learnt to be shifting positions at his own request.

Insiders say that Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Brussels, Rodney Perera, was earmarked as the Foreign Secretary by leaders of the United National Party, a coalition partner with the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) in the ‘consensus government.’ However, Ambassador Kariyawasam, a retired career diplomat, who was earlier given an extension as our envoy in Washington on the intervention of an influential UNP Minister was the preferred choice of President Sirisena.

The President was in favour of Mr Kariyawasam who was to end his extended term in September. He had instructed Presidential Secretary Austin Fernando to ensure that Mr. Kariyawasam takes over the Foreign Office bureaucracy sooner, i.e. by August 15.
Both Mr Fernando and Mr Kariyawasam are old boys of Richmond College, Galle. Mr. Kariyawasam represented the school at first eleven cricket.

The Presidential move, insiders say, is a further reflection of the tensions between the UNP and the SLFP leadership. The Foreign Ministry is under the UNP.

Rogues in present Govt. also: President
President Maithripala Sirisena fired a strong broadside at his government’s coalition partner, the United National Party (UNP).
Addressing the Executive Committee meeting of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), he said, he quit the previous government because it was a kunu aanduwa or rotten government.

He said he would also not stay in a government that was corrupt and added that there were “rogues even now” in the government.
Of course, some members of that kunu aanduwa or rotten government are in this government as well, and facing bribery and corruption charges, but the broadside was clear amidst certain revelations transpiring these days.


Minister wants expert committee for driving tests
Transport Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has proposed changes in the procedures adopted to issue driving licences.
At present such procedures include the conduct of a written test by officials. They are mainly from the Department of Motor Traffic including Motor Vehicle examiners.

The minister now wants external parties which will include Police, traffic experts and a representative of the Automobile Association to form a Committee that will whet those sitting the written examination.
At his request, the Government has now appointed a committee to study the matter further and submit recommendations.

Rishad seeks duty free lorries for co-ops.
Commerce and Industry Minister Rishad Bathiuddin has proposed that Co-operative Societies be allowed to import lorries without the payment of Customs duty.

The implications of such a proposal is now being examined by the Ministry of Finance and Media.

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