Committee on SL-S'pore FTA: JO wants Prez to hold sittings

22 August 2018 05:47 am - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The joint opposition (JO) yesterday urged President Maithripala Sirisena to immediately convene the committee of experts appointed to study the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA).

The President had in August appointed a committee of experts to study the SL-Singapore FTA and submit a report in two months.

MP Bandula Gunawardena told a news conference the five-member committee headed by Professor W.D. Lakshman had not met yet.

“The committee has to submit the report in two months. However, neither has it met nor has it invited any relevant stakeholders to appear before it. The committee needs an office for its meetings, additional staff to record evidence and funds to carry out its mandate. Unless it is a method of hoodwinking the people; facilities should be provided for the committee to begin work,” he said.

The MP said the JO was ready to give evidence or clarify matters related to the FTA, which

He did not even have an expiry date and therefore, its negative repercussions may last forever.

He claimed that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had neglected his duties when the FTA was tabled in Parliament.

“We blame the Speaker for failing in his duties. Parliament and not a minister has the power to make financial decisions. Just because an FTA is signed, Customs duty on imported goods cannot be removed without Parliament's approval. However, a gazette has been issued secretly removing Customs duty on about 4,000 items imported from Singapore. The Speaker should clarify how this happened,” the MP said.

He said the Speaker postponed the debate on the Central Bank Bond Commission report because of the unavailability of the Tamil translation but had allowed the debate on the SL-Singapore FTA to take place even when there was only the English version available.

  Comments - 4

  • Unchikun Wednesday, 22 August 2018 10:19 AM

    We already have trade agreements with India and Pakistan. No one even knows about it. I have been watching and listening to hilarious debates on TV. Most JO members and their supporters do not understand the agreement. Why, because it is in English and no Singhala or Tamil translations. They think housemaids can come from Singapore and work under this agreement. It is not, Singapore companies providing housemate services can operate in Sri Lanka, similar to DHL delivery service. To me this tuition master is no economist but a five star joker.

    Bota Wednesday, 22 August 2018 12:58 PM

    All knowing but everything.

    wedigchan1134 Wednesday, 22 August 2018 01:49 PM

    His theories are outdated - 1970s.

    jayantha Wednesday, 22 August 2018 03:49 PM

    Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (SLSFTA). HOW ABOUT CHINESE AGREEMENTS ( Colombo 3 -4 full of Chinese now


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