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Late PM, an exemplary politician who looked down on fraud and corruption:President

Late Ratnasiri Wickramanayake was an exemplary politician who strongly objected to corruption and fraud, said President Maithripala Sirisena in Parliament yesterday.

He made this observation yesterday, joining the Condolence Motion on the demise of late Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake, when it was taken for the second day.

He also said that late Wickramanayake was a leftist politician unlike politicians of the new trend who attempt to amass wealth from their initial stage. "Wickramanayake's family had tuskers, elephants, massive lands and shopping malls," President Sirisena said. "But they lost most of their wealth due to politics."

The President also said late Wickramanayake was the Secretary General of the the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) during the period when the late J R Jayewardene led the United National Party. "It was a difficult period for leftist politicians and the SLFP during that period when it was divided into three factions," the President said. "Even the children of the founder of SLFP late S W R D Bandaranaike formulated different parties."

The President also appreciated the late Wickramanayake for his ability to take quick decisions and his eloquence in speech.

Joint Opposition Member Vidura Wickramanayake said that his late father (Ratnasiri Wickramanayake) always believed that the country should be benefited by the acts of politicians rather than himself.

He also said that he was a Sinhalese and a great Buddhist. "But he never was a racist,' Vidura Wickramanayake said. "He stood against terrorism both in the North and South alike. There was much for upcoming politicians to study from him."

The Speaker also joined the condolence motion and ordered that a copy of the motion be sent to the family members of the late Ratnasiri Wickramanayake.

Import of of 257,559 Mt. of rice by SATHOSA causes country a loss of Rs. 15,000 M

A financial loss of Rs 15,000 million had been caused by the import of rice by SATHOSA without Cabinet approval during the last six months from September 2014 to February 2015, said Public Enterprise Committee (COPE) Chairman Sunil Handunnetti in Parliament yesterday.

He also said that the COPE had been informed that the import of 50,000 metric tons of rice was approved by the Cabinet in hauls of 5,000 metric tons at a time.

"But the SATHOSA had imported a haul of 257,559 Mt of rice," said JVP Parliamentarian Handunnetti. "This import had contributed to the breakdown of the agrarian economy of the country," he said.

He made this observation while presenting a report on the import of rice by the SATHOSA from September 2014 to February 2015.

On this occasion, Leader of the House and Highways and Higher Education Minister Lakshman Kiriella questioned if the complain befall on the good governance government to which Handunnetti replied he had clearly stated the time period. "Then you would have to tell us whether it had been committed during the previous regime," Minister Kiriella said. The Minister also moved that the report be printed.

Seeking to repeal Exchange Control Act:

Govt. presents Foreign Exchange Control Bill in Parliament

The government yesterday, presented the Foreign Exchange Control Bill in Parliament seeking to repeal the Exchange Control Act (Chapter 423} and to vest the Central Bank the responsibility of promoting and regulating foreign exchange as its agent.

According to the Bill, all suits, actions and proceedings instituted under the repealed Act and pending on the day immediately prior to the appointed date, shall from the appointed date be deemed to be such actions, while all investigations and inquiries instituted under the repealed act will be deemed to be investigations and inquiries.

According to the new Bill, any person holding foreign exchange in a bank account in Sri Lanka or own any foreign assets, may utilize such foreign exchange for making any payment or for any current and capital transaction within or outside Sri Lanka.

According to the new Bill, in case it does not hold assets in foreign currency, he could convert these assets into foreign currency to make any payment.

The Bill also provides provision for exportation and importation of foreign exchange, subjected to terms and conditions which would be Gazetted by the Finance Minister.


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