The inaugural ceremony of the national project to convert all the state sector buildings into solar power generating centres within two years was officially held with the patronage of Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake at the Finance Ministry yesterday.
The project was launched following a proposal by budget 2017. The project will be implemented under the initiative of President Maithripala Sirisena’s ‘Beginning of 3rd Year of a Sustainable Era’ and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s concept to build a powerful Sri Lanka under his ‘Economic Policy Statement’.
The first solar power generation scheme under this project was fixed on the Finance Ministry building. It was commenced by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.
Addressing the ceremony, Karunanayake said converting current expensive power sources into new energy sources through conserving environment is a turning point of the ongoing rapid development agenda.
He pointed out that introducing solar power will help the government to manage its cost factor specially in repaying the existing colossal debts. He said the Finance Ministry expects to cut its monthly electricity bill by Rs.200,000, accordingly.
Karunanayake further said, “A huge amount of debt had been borrowed haphazardly when we took over the government on January 8, 2015. As a government, we found two methods to come out from this colossal debt trap. One is to leave them as they were and continue our activities. The second remedy is to go ahead by minimizing public costs, managing the economy and look for new sources of revenue.
We have been implementing the best remedial measures. The national project that we inaugurated today will protect the environment on the one hand and on the other hand, it will convert the current expensive energy sources into cheap solar system thereby cutting the state sector energy costs.
Therefore, we believe that all will extend their support to make this venture a success. Our aim is to set up solar panels on all state buildings by 2019 to enable them to meet their electricity demand by solar power.”
State Finance Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena also expressed his views during the ceremony.
“The previous regime, which foresaw two imminent crises, called snap elections two years ahead of its mandate. One crisis was the international allegations against the previous regime. The second was the looming economic challenges.
Under the rule of the current good governance, we have already been able to restore democracy in the country and minimize international influences as well. However, we have to engage with the current global trends therefore the economic crisis is still prevailing.
Today, we achieved a special milestone in our journey towards the set economic goals,” Abeywardena said. Speaking at the ceremony, Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga said economic development and environment conservation cannot be separated as both are of paramount importance.
He said that it was a welcoming sign that the Finance Ministry inaugurated such a programme of national importance.
MP Nalin Bandara, Finance Ministry Deputy Secretaries S.R. Atygalle, A.R. Deshapriya and Chandra Ekanayake, Director General H.G. Sumanasinghe and several department heads participated.