Thursday, October 6, 2016

Fonterra to invest more in Lanka

Dairy conglomerate Fonterra has expressed its interest to invest in SriLanka in a big way in its efforts to help develop national dairy industry,Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

The company will focus on bringing more high yielding cattle and technology that can yield more milk. In addition the company is also looking to secure more land for livestock grazing.

The company will focus on helping farmers improve milk quality and operate their farming businesses more effectively and profitably introducing the best, most efficient system for the local climate and environment. “They have made a request to invest more and we have decided to provide necessary facilities for them to do that investment, the Minister said.

Fonterra group has been helping to develop dairy farming skills in the country for more than 15 years and is also focused on increasing investments.

MR can never come back to power: Gayantha

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa can never come back to power under whichever party or guise he may come forward to contest elections, Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunatilleke said.

"We refer to him as third time unlucky," the minister said.

He was fielding questions posed by the media following a meeting he addressed at Imaduwa on October 2. The minister said with all state power and resources at his command and the backing of state machinery and a powerful set of ministers, Rajapaksa failed to win the last presidential election.

"So, how can he win with the backing of a small coterie of parliamentarians and a few minor parties without a political base," he asked. Karunatilleke said people of this country will never get deceived by the polemics of the so called Joint Opposition any more.

He said the UNP took the lead in keeping a full stop to Rajapaksa rule and defeating him again at the hustings would be a simple thing.

Buddhist Temporalities and Kathikawath Bills held back

The government yesterday decided to postpone the debate on the Buddhist Temporalities (Amendment) Bill and the Theravadi Bhikku Kathikawath (Registration) Bill indefinitely in the light of protests from certain quarters of the Buddhist clergy. The two Bills were earlier scheduled to be taken up for debate this week in Parliament.

Minister of Justice and Buddha Sasasana, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe speaking to the Daily News said they had asked all the Mahanayakas, Chapters and Nikayas to sign a common agreement on the Bills and thereafter the government would present the Bills to Parliament.

“The Government’s stance is that we cannot get involved in religious matters. It is the Mahanayakas who have to discuss this but there has been no consensus reached”, said Minister Rajapakshe.

The Bills have been discussed for several decades with it first being presented to Parliament in the 1970s, according to the Minister.

The Bill then was based on recommendations made by the Buddhist Commission in 1953.

The issue of contention appears to be in the process of electing the ‘Diyawadana Nilame’.

“The Mahanayakes of the Asgiriya and Malwatte Chapter asked to present the Bills with no changes made to the electoral system of the Diyawadana Nilame.

But today (3) we received a letter from other Mahayanayakas asking that the debate be postponed as they too wanted voting rights.

The Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters have opposed this”, explained the Minister.

“Religious leaders asked us to bring this in and now they want it stopped,”he added. .

‘No one can stop forward march of unity’ govt

Although members of three wheel parties spite the forward march of the SLFP-UNP unity government it will forge ahead for a long period unabated, Ports Deputy Minister Nishantah Muthuhettigama said.

Addressing a meeting at Galle on October 2, Muthuhettigama said the SLFP will linger in the political firmament of the country gaining strength shatteringthe hopes of detractors awaiting for its nemesis.

He said the SLFP hoped to go for the local council elections after strengthening its grassroots organisations. The SLFP would contest the election single handed under the Hand symbol in 2020 and from a government of its own, he said.

India-Sri Lanka will sign ETCA by year end

NEW DELHI: The Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka will be signed by year end that aims to attract investment in the $500 billion economy, encompassing Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Kerala.

“The proposed technology and economic cooperation agreement will be signed by the end of this year…The Prime Minister Narendra Modi and my self have agreed on this,” said Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, speaking at the India Economic Summit organized by World Economic Forum along with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).                  

He pointed that the five fastest growing southern states have population of 250 million and a combined GDP of $400 billion. With addition of Sri Lanka’s  22 million population and $80 economy the GDP in the sub-region is a $500 billion economy. “That is Sweden (economy)…imagine what it would be if we (India and Sri Lanka) work together,” said Wickremesinghe.

The free trade agreement (FTA) between India and SriLanka will be expanded to beyond trading of goods and services, to investment and technology cooperation.    “Asia will bail out the world (from economic downturn) if we are allowed to write the rules…else we create our own system,” said Wickremesinghe.

He said the FTA with Singapore and Indonesia by India and by Sri Lanka along with ETCA will make a strong regional economic power. The Sri Lankan PM also proposed to bring in Indonesia and Malaysia and the BIMSTEC countries. “The whole area around the Bay of Bengal as region of economic cooperation…the growth is here,” said Wickremesinghe.