www.dailymirror.lk https://www.dailymirror.lk/RSS_Feeds/top_story The only Sri Lankan newspaper with round the clock news updates - Dailymirror Online Edition en-us [email protected] Copyright 2024 First ever semi-transparent solar PV pilot project commissioned https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/First-ever-semi-transparent-solar-PV-pilot-project-commissioned/155-278023 https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/First-ever-semi-transparent-solar-PV-pilot-project-commissioned/155-278023 Colombo, March (Daily Mirror) - Sri Lanka’s first ever semi-transparent solar PV-powered agrivoltaic pilot project was commissioned at Hanthana in Kandy.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said the project was funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

He said the pilot project will assist the Plantation Industries Ministry, Power & Energy Ministry, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Tea Small Holders Development Authority and Sustainable Energy Authority to study the development of renewable energy in tea plantations in the country.

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Colombo, March (Daily Mirror) - Sri Lanka’s first ever semi-transparent solar PV-powered agrivoltaic pilot project was commissioned at Hanthana in Kandy.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said the project was funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

He said the pilot project will assist the Plantation Industries Ministry, Power & Energy Ministry, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Tea Small Holders Development Authority and Sustainable Energy Authority to study the development of renewable energy in tea plantations in the country.

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_77ee4f3984.jpg 2024-03-01 09:59:00
WNPS vows tough action against Adani wind power project https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/WNPS-vows-tough-action-against-Adani-wind-power-project/155-277886 https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/WNPS-vows-tough-action-against-Adani-wind-power-project/155-277886 Colombo, Feb 28 (Daily Mirror) - Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) vowed stern legal action against the Adani-sponsored wind power project in Mannar if the proposed environmental concerns on the EIA is not heeded by the Central Environment Authority (CEA), saying over one million birds will be affected annually if the project came into being.

Senior biodiversity scientist Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda said yesterday the proposals on serious environmental concerns about the Mannar wind power generation project will be submitted to the CEA before the given deadline on March 6th.

Addressing a media briefing held in Colombo yesterday Dr. Pethiyagoda said if the proposals on the environment impact assessment (EIA) submitted by them were rejected by the CEA, they would seek legal action against the project.

He said even the concerned citizens could comment on the EIA, while it is open for public comments until March 6th addressed to Director General, CEA through [email protected]

Prof Sampath Seneviratne explaining about the situation said Sri Lanka is annually visited by 15 million migratory birds of 250 species from 30 countries as the southernmost destination of the Central Asian Flyway (CAF).

Out of this, over one million migratory birds of 150 species are visiting the Mannar corridor, which functions as a critical over-wintering ground providing breeding habitats for another 26 species of threatened birds.

Prof. Seneviratne said with the oncoming proposed 50 turbine wind power project on the Mannar corridor all those birds will be affected or destroyed. “The proposed 250MW will pose significant risks to both ecological and economic balance,” he said.

Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardena said the EIA on the Mannar project has been conducted based on incomplete Terms of Reference, violating Sri Lankan laws, lack of consultation with key stakeholders and oversight of the Department of Wildlife Conservation’s expertise. 

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Colombo, Feb 28 (Daily Mirror) - Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) vowed stern legal action against the Adani-sponsored wind power project in Mannar if the proposed environmental concerns on the EIA is not heeded by the Central Environment Authority (CEA), saying over one million birds will be affected annually if the project came into being.

Senior biodiversity scientist Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda said yesterday the proposals on serious environmental concerns about the Mannar wind power generation project will be submitted to the CEA before the given deadline on March 6th.

Addressing a media briefing held in Colombo yesterday Dr. Pethiyagoda said if the proposals on the environment impact assessment (EIA) submitted by them were rejected by the CEA, they would seek legal action against the project.

He said even the concerned citizens could comment on the EIA, while it is open for public comments until March 6th addressed to Director General, CEA through [email protected]

Prof Sampath Seneviratne explaining about the situation said Sri Lanka is annually visited by 15 million migratory birds of 250 species from 30 countries as the southernmost destination of the Central Asian Flyway (CAF).

Out of this, over one million migratory birds of 150 species are visiting the Mannar corridor, which functions as a critical over-wintering ground providing breeding habitats for another 26 species of threatened birds.

Prof. Seneviratne said with the oncoming proposed 50 turbine wind power project on the Mannar corridor all those birds will be affected or destroyed. “The proposed 250MW will pose significant risks to both ecological and economic balance,” he said.

Environmental Lawyer Jagath Gunawardena said the EIA on the Mannar project has been conducted based on incomplete Terms of Reference, violating Sri Lankan laws, lack of consultation with key stakeholders and oversight of the Department of Wildlife Conservation’s expertise. 

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_31011223bf.jpg 2024-02-28 13:01:00
Locals outraged as Israeli and Ukrainian tourists operate businesses in South https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/Locals-outraged-as-Israeli-and-Ukrainian-tourists-operate-businesses-in-South/155-277842 https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/Locals-outraged-as-Israeli-and-Ukrainian-tourists-operate-businesses-in-South/155-277842 By Kamanthi Wickramasinghe

Following the Daily Mirror’s expose on Russian tourists engaging in illegal businesses in several areas in the south, it has now come to light that many Israeli and Ukrainian tourists are also engaged in running similar businesses in the south, hampering local businesses and causing much concern among industry stakeholders.

The Daily Mirror visited these areas along the southern coastal belt and learnt that business operations run by Israeli and Ukrainian tourists include boutique hotels, restaurants and cafes.

However, local tour operators claim that most Ukrainian tourists have even reached the extent of organizing excursions which they claim is illegal as tourists don’t have a license to operate as inbound tour guides.

Local nationals in the south claim that if an immediate monitoring process is not enforced, tourists and locals are likely to clash as the tourists are attempting to hinder local businesses and hinder their livelihoods.

During a visit on ground, the Daily Mirror also learnt that Israeli nationals have purchased lands to set up their businesses. Local sources told the Daily Mirror that some Israeli nationals have purchased lands on a 99-year lease basis. As a result, the demand for land and property has skyrocketed in these areas.

The tourism sector stakeholders on Monday confirmed that Sri Lanka is witnessing an increasing trend of international visitors engaging in business activities and warned that the industry, in certain parts of the country, is impacted as a result.

Officials from the industry said they had alerted the relevant authorities regarding a section of tourists arriving in the country for long stays, carrying out business activities, without proper registrations and a majority of these tourist-run businesses started off small but have grown considerably over time.

“We have been talking about this to the authorities as early as 2022. We saw this situation brewing in the South but now it has spread to other areas as well," SLAITO President Nishard Wijetunge said.

Tourism Minister Harin Fernando had over the weekend said his Ministry had held discussions with the Immigration Department following several complaints from local businesses and following raids conducted by the authorities, several of these foreign run businesses were not registered with the SLTDA and neither were they paying taxes.

Article

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By Kamanthi Wickramasinghe

Following the Daily Mirror’s expose on Russian tourists engaging in illegal businesses in several areas in the south, it has now come to light that many Israeli and Ukrainian tourists are also engaged in running similar businesses in the south, hampering local businesses and causing much concern among industry stakeholders.

The Daily Mirror visited these areas along the southern coastal belt and learnt that business operations run by Israeli and Ukrainian tourists include boutique hotels, restaurants and cafes.

However, local tour operators claim that most Ukrainian tourists have even reached the extent of organizing excursions which they claim is illegal as tourists don’t have a license to operate as inbound tour guides.

Local nationals in the south claim that if an immediate monitoring process is not enforced, tourists and locals are likely to clash as the tourists are attempting to hinder local businesses and hinder their livelihoods.

During a visit on ground, the Daily Mirror also learnt that Israeli nationals have purchased lands to set up their businesses. Local sources told the Daily Mirror that some Israeli nationals have purchased lands on a 99-year lease basis. As a result, the demand for land and property has skyrocketed in these areas.

The tourism sector stakeholders on Monday confirmed that Sri Lanka is witnessing an increasing trend of international visitors engaging in business activities and warned that the industry, in certain parts of the country, is impacted as a result.

Officials from the industry said they had alerted the relevant authorities regarding a section of tourists arriving in the country for long stays, carrying out business activities, without proper registrations and a majority of these tourist-run businesses started off small but have grown considerably over time.

“We have been talking about this to the authorities as early as 2022. We saw this situation brewing in the South but now it has spread to other areas as well," SLAITO President Nishard Wijetunge said.

Tourism Minister Harin Fernando had over the weekend said his Ministry had held discussions with the Immigration Department following several complaints from local businesses and following raids conducted by the authorities, several of these foreign run businesses were not registered with the SLTDA and neither were they paying taxes.

Article

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_2a04ae817f.jpg 2024-02-28 06:36:00
Central Bank of Sri Lanka clarifies reports on salary hike https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/Central-Bank-of-Sri-Lanka-clarifies-reports-on-salary-hike/155-277673 https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/Central-Bank-of-Sri-Lanka-clarifies-reports-on-salary-hike/155-277673 Colombo, Feb 25 -  The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has responded to recent media reports surrounding comments made by Members of Parliament regarding the latest revision of remuneration for CBSL employees. 

 

In a statement released today, the CBSL emphasized its commitment to transparency and accountability in its operations.

 

The Governing Board of the CBSL, at a meeting held on 21.02.2024, directed the Governor to formally request an opportunity to address Members of Parliament through an appropriate parliamentary committee.

 

This request, made in accordance with Section 80 (2) (b) of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Act No. 16 of 2023, aims to provide clarity on the process and rationale behind the recent remuneration revision, which was approved under the triennial Collective Agreement with Trade Unions covering the period 2024-2026.

 

On 22.02.2024, the Governor of CBSL submitted a written request to the President, who also serves as the Minister of Finance and acts as the conduit through which CBSL communicates with Parliament. 

 

The request seeks an opportunity to apprise Members of Parliament of the factors driving the remuneration adjustment for CBSL staff.

 

CBSL also reiterated its willingness to provide explanations and insights into the decision-making process behind the remuneration revision either upon being granted the requested opportunity or upon receiving a formal request for information.

 

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Colombo, Feb 25 -  The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has responded to recent media reports surrounding comments made by Members of Parliament regarding the latest revision of remuneration for CBSL employees. 

 

In a statement released today, the CBSL emphasized its commitment to transparency and accountability in its operations.

 

The Governing Board of the CBSL, at a meeting held on 21.02.2024, directed the Governor to formally request an opportunity to address Members of Parliament through an appropriate parliamentary committee.

 

This request, made in accordance with Section 80 (2) (b) of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Act No. 16 of 2023, aims to provide clarity on the process and rationale behind the recent remuneration revision, which was approved under the triennial Collective Agreement with Trade Unions covering the period 2024-2026.

 

On 22.02.2024, the Governor of CBSL submitted a written request to the President, who also serves as the Minister of Finance and acts as the conduit through which CBSL communicates with Parliament. 

 

The request seeks an opportunity to apprise Members of Parliament of the factors driving the remuneration adjustment for CBSL staff.

 

CBSL also reiterated its willingness to provide explanations and insights into the decision-making process behind the remuneration revision either upon being granted the requested opportunity or upon receiving a formal request for information.

 

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_8a59699068.jpeg 2024-02-25 13:53:00
Suspected deaths of patients at Kurunegala Hospital raise concern https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/Suspected-deaths-of-patients-at-Kurunegala-Hospital-raise-concern/155-277651 https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/Suspected-deaths-of-patients-at-Kurunegala-Hospital-raise-concern/155-277651 Feb 24, (Daily Mirror) - The Health Ministry has launched an investigation and appointed a committee to look into the incident surrounding the suspected deaths at the dialysis unit of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital.

 

Speaking of the matter, Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr. Palitha Mahipala said the at least five deaths have occurred since January at the dialysis unit.

 

Accordingly, a five-member committee headed by Chief Epidemiologist Dr Samitha Ginige has been appointed to look into the matter.

 

According to sources, the incident may have occurred due to the entry of certain unidentified pathogens into the blood dialysis unit.

 

However, the Health Ministry is investigating the entire scenario to ascertain the actual cause of the deaths.

 

In light of the situation, the health authorities have taken prompt measures to shut down the unit and direct the kidney patients to other nearest units.

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Feb 24, (Daily Mirror) - The Health Ministry has launched an investigation and appointed a committee to look into the incident surrounding the suspected deaths at the dialysis unit of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital.

 

Speaking of the matter, Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr. Palitha Mahipala said the at least five deaths have occurred since January at the dialysis unit.

 

Accordingly, a five-member committee headed by Chief Epidemiologist Dr Samitha Ginige has been appointed to look into the matter.

 

According to sources, the incident may have occurred due to the entry of certain unidentified pathogens into the blood dialysis unit.

 

However, the Health Ministry is investigating the entire scenario to ascertain the actual cause of the deaths.

 

In light of the situation, the health authorities have taken prompt measures to shut down the unit and direct the kidney patients to other nearest units.

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_65434d0d94.jpeg 2024-02-24 13:52:00
Court prevents removal of Sarath Fonseka from SJB’s positions https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/Court-prevents-removal-of-Sarath-Fonseka-from-SJB’s-positions/155-277313 https://www.dailymirror.lk/top-story/Court-prevents-removal-of-Sarath-Fonseka-from-SJB’s-positions/155-277313 Colombo, Feb 19 (Daily Mirror) - The Colombo District Court today issued an enjoining order preventing the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) from removing Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka from the party positions.

The District Court made this order pursuant to a plaint filed by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka against SJB office bearers.

This order will be effective till March 4.

 

 

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Colombo, Feb 19 (Daily Mirror) - The Colombo District Court today issued an enjoining order preventing the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) from removing Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka from the party positions.

The District Court made this order pursuant to a plaint filed by Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka against SJB office bearers.

This order will be effective till March 4.

 

 

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_221a354d73.jpg 2024-02-19 11:57:00
Sri Lanka fall behind in blacklisting corrupt contractors: Verité Research https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Sri-Lanka-fall-behind-in-blacklisting-corrupt-contractors:-Verité-Research/108-277257 https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Sri-Lanka-fall-behind-in-blacklisting-corrupt-contractors:-Verité-Research/108-277257 Colombo, Feb 18 (Daily Mirror) - Sri Lanka has the worst record among South Asian countries in blacklisting corrupt contractors in public procurement, according to a new report by Verité Research.

The report shows that Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia that 1) does not recognise engaging in corrupt and fraudulent activities during procurement as a valid reason for blacklisting 2) has not blacklisted contractors that have defaulted on contractual obligations despite having the provisions to do so.

The first issue can be attributed to gaps in the procurement guidelines of 2006, which govern almost all public procurement in Sri Lanka — except in a few instances such as pharmaceutical procurement. 

The report emphasises the importance of urgently fixing these gaps to combat corruption and restore fiscal governance.

The second issue – not blacklisting defaulting contractors – shows a lack of compliance with existing regulations. Sri Lanka has provisions not only to blacklist defaulting contractors, but also to publish their names on a public, online database. 

However, this database, maintained by the Department of Public Finance, is empty. By contrast, as of July 2023, Nepal had 629 entries on its online database and Bangladesh had 510. 

High levels of corruption in procurement and the importance of fixing then have also been highlighted in the civil society governance diagnostic and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) governance diagnostic on Sri Lanka. In fact, one of the key IMF recommendations is to enact a public procurement law in Sri Lanka that reflects international best practices by December 2024.

The report by Verité Research, titled “Backwards in Blacklisting: Gaps in Sri Lanka’s Procurement Framework Enable Corruption”, is available on the Verité Research website – https://www.veriteresearch.org/publication/sri-lanka-procurement-corruptiongaps/ 

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Colombo, Feb 18 (Daily Mirror) - Sri Lanka has the worst record among South Asian countries in blacklisting corrupt contractors in public procurement, according to a new report by Verité Research.

The report shows that Sri Lanka is the only country in South Asia that 1) does not recognise engaging in corrupt and fraudulent activities during procurement as a valid reason for blacklisting 2) has not blacklisted contractors that have defaulted on contractual obligations despite having the provisions to do so.

The first issue can be attributed to gaps in the procurement guidelines of 2006, which govern almost all public procurement in Sri Lanka — except in a few instances such as pharmaceutical procurement. 

The report emphasises the importance of urgently fixing these gaps to combat corruption and restore fiscal governance.

The second issue – not blacklisting defaulting contractors – shows a lack of compliance with existing regulations. Sri Lanka has provisions not only to blacklist defaulting contractors, but also to publish their names on a public, online database. 

However, this database, maintained by the Department of Public Finance, is empty. By contrast, as of July 2023, Nepal had 629 entries on its online database and Bangladesh had 510. 

High levels of corruption in procurement and the importance of fixing then have also been highlighted in the civil society governance diagnostic and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) governance diagnostic on Sri Lanka. In fact, one of the key IMF recommendations is to enact a public procurement law in Sri Lanka that reflects international best practices by December 2024.

The report by Verité Research, titled “Backwards in Blacklisting: Gaps in Sri Lanka’s Procurement Framework Enable Corruption”, is available on the Verité Research website – https://www.veriteresearch.org/publication/sri-lanka-procurement-corruptiongaps/ 

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_f07fe52280.jpg 2024-02-18 13:20:00
Sri Lanka busts oil spill using satellite surveillance for first time https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Sri-Lanka-busts-oil-spill-using-satellite-surveillance-for-first-time/108-277225 https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Sri-Lanka-busts-oil-spill-using-satellite-surveillance-for-first-time/108-277225 Colombo, Feb 17 (Daily Mirror) - Following the initiative with the French government to detect oil spills in Sri Lankan waters using satellite surveillance, Sri Lanka has detected the first such incident and fined Rs. 15 million to the responsible company, the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) said.

According to the MEPA, on February 5, the CLS analysts (The French Company) reported the detection of significant oil pollution off their coasts, by an illegal discharge of the Global Crest, a 120-metre tanker cruising from Malaysia to the UAE.

Action was taken immediately against the vessel and an onboard inspection was conducted, which revealed clear evidence of the illegal discharge. The ship was detained until the owner admitted the offence and acknowledged the maximum fine of Rs. 15 million pursuant to national regulations.

Lying at the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka is strategically located to become a key stage along the main Indian Ocean shipping routes. However, it is exposed to the increasing risk of pollution from both accidental spills and illegal discharges.

In the frame of the OSDS initiative funded by the French Government, Sri Lanka recently entrusted CLS with the delivery of a service to detect oil pollution and identify polluters from space. This proven detection system has already been successfully deployed in other regions around the world, like in Europe, where the Cleanseanet service operated by the European Maritime Safety Authority (EMSA) has had a clear deterrent effect, halving the number of pollution incidents detected in European waters in 10 years.

Since September 2023, CLS has been delivering more than 100 detection reports to MEPA with the aim of demonstrating the effectiveness of satellite technologies in reducing marine pollution and mitigating their environmental impact.

This case is considered a real success by the OSDS stakeholders, proving the relevance and efficiency of the initiative. It paves the way towards developing a sovereign, fully operational local capability to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

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Colombo, Feb 17 (Daily Mirror) - Following the initiative with the French government to detect oil spills in Sri Lankan waters using satellite surveillance, Sri Lanka has detected the first such incident and fined Rs. 15 million to the responsible company, the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) said.

According to the MEPA, on February 5, the CLS analysts (The French Company) reported the detection of significant oil pollution off their coasts, by an illegal discharge of the Global Crest, a 120-metre tanker cruising from Malaysia to the UAE.

Action was taken immediately against the vessel and an onboard inspection was conducted, which revealed clear evidence of the illegal discharge. The ship was detained until the owner admitted the offence and acknowledged the maximum fine of Rs. 15 million pursuant to national regulations.

Lying at the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka is strategically located to become a key stage along the main Indian Ocean shipping routes. However, it is exposed to the increasing risk of pollution from both accidental spills and illegal discharges.

In the frame of the OSDS initiative funded by the French Government, Sri Lanka recently entrusted CLS with the delivery of a service to detect oil pollution and identify polluters from space. This proven detection system has already been successfully deployed in other regions around the world, like in Europe, where the Cleanseanet service operated by the European Maritime Safety Authority (EMSA) has had a clear deterrent effect, halving the number of pollution incidents detected in European waters in 10 years.

Since September 2023, CLS has been delivering more than 100 detection reports to MEPA with the aim of demonstrating the effectiveness of satellite technologies in reducing marine pollution and mitigating their environmental impact.

This case is considered a real success by the OSDS stakeholders, proving the relevance and efficiency of the initiative. It paves the way towards developing a sovereign, fully operational local capability to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

]]>
https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_5b390f16e3.jpg 2024-02-17 07:05:00
Forensic audit reveals frauds at Ceylon Petroleum Corporation https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Forensic-audit-reveals-frauds-at-Ceylon-Petroleum-Corporation/108-277165 https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Forensic-audit-reveals-frauds-at-Ceylon-Petroleum-Corporation/108-277165 Colombo, Feb 16 (Daily Mirror) - KPMG's forensic audit into discrepancies at Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals (CPSTL) has revealed substantial losses attributed to alterations and deletions in SAP data related to stock holdings.

The forensic audit was initiated in response to a complaint filed by the Power and Energy Minister with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in August 2022.

The major findings of the forensic audit conducted by KPMG on the sales and distribution of petroleum products from the CPSTL was briefed to Minister Kanchana Wijesekera last afternoon.  

Accordingly, the KPMG and CPSTL audit investigation officials have found that more than 1.3 million entries on SAP data have been changed or deleted since 2010 and most have occurred in 2022 during the height of the fuel crisis.

After the complaint was lodged in August 2022 the number had significantly reduced in 2023.

Massive losses have been recorded from stock holding in 2022 amounting to Rs. 28 billion & after the complaint was lodged it had come down to Rs. 4 billion in 2023.

Use of outdated circulars and procedures and no adequate data have been available or kept to determine certain irregularities.

Accordingly, the full report on the major findings of the forensic audit conducted by KPMG will be handed over next week by KPMG and the Minister will handover the complete report to the CID for further investigations and appropriate legal steps.

The report will also be shared with the members of the Cabinet, Parliament, the Auditor General and the Attorney General's Department to pursue the next steps.

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Colombo, Feb 16 (Daily Mirror) - KPMG's forensic audit into discrepancies at Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals (CPSTL) has revealed substantial losses attributed to alterations and deletions in SAP data related to stock holdings.

The forensic audit was initiated in response to a complaint filed by the Power and Energy Minister with the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) in August 2022.

The major findings of the forensic audit conducted by KPMG on the sales and distribution of petroleum products from the CPSTL was briefed to Minister Kanchana Wijesekera last afternoon.  

Accordingly, the KPMG and CPSTL audit investigation officials have found that more than 1.3 million entries on SAP data have been changed or deleted since 2010 and most have occurred in 2022 during the height of the fuel crisis.

After the complaint was lodged in August 2022 the number had significantly reduced in 2023.

Massive losses have been recorded from stock holding in 2022 amounting to Rs. 28 billion & after the complaint was lodged it had come down to Rs. 4 billion in 2023.

Use of outdated circulars and procedures and no adequate data have been available or kept to determine certain irregularities.

Accordingly, the full report on the major findings of the forensic audit conducted by KPMG will be handed over next week by KPMG and the Minister will handover the complete report to the CID for further investigations and appropriate legal steps.

The report will also be shared with the members of the Cabinet, Parliament, the Auditor General and the Attorney General's Department to pursue the next steps.

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_89e2030e3c.jpg 2024-02-16 11:41:00
Ambitious plans underway to make SL a ‘happening’ tourist destination https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Ambitious-plans-underway-to-make-SL-a-‘happening’-tourist-destination/108-277052 https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Ambitious-plans-underway-to-make-SL-a-‘happening’-tourist-destination/108-277052

Authorities of Sri Lanka Tourism address the media to share plans to make the island nation more attractive for international visitors
PIC BY NIMALSIRI EDIRISINGHE

  • SLTPB set to enter into agreements with a consortium of global brands, both foreign and domestic
  • Objective is to significantly boost tourism activities, with goal of increasing average daily spend of tourists
  • SLTPB chief hints ‘unique’ event to take place in Sigiriya
  • Plans afoot to collaborate with European Union to launch a wellness tourism campaign 

‘‘We will make it a more happening destination; 2024 is going to be a very positive year”
- Chalaka Gajabahu 

By Nishel Fernando 
Sri Lanka’s tourism sector is gearing up for a major transformation, as the authorities unveil an ambitious plan to make the country one of the world’s most dynamic and sought-after destinations. 
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Chalaka Gajabahu announced yesterday that the SLTPB is set to enter into agreements with a consortium of global brands, both foreign and domestic, to sponsor and promote a series of exciting events. This move comes as part of a larger strategy to boost tourism and make 2024 the best year yet for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.

 “We will make it a more happening destination; 2024 is going to be a very positive year,” Gajabahu declared.
Sri Lanka’s tourism scene has long grappled with a shortage of compelling events and activities to engage tourists and encourage higher spending. This is a concern that has been frequently raised.
The fresh initiatives by the tourism authorities aim to significantly boost tourism activities, with the goal of increasing the average daily spend of tourists to US $ 500 from the current US $ 160, putting Sri Lanka in league with luxury destinations like the Maldives.
As per the provisional data by the Central Bank, the earnings per tourist witnessed a rebound in January 2024. The earnings per tourist arrival have improved to US $ 1,641 in January, from US $ 1,580 in the 1H23 period. In the 2H23 period, the earnings dropped significantly.
“This is a step-by-step process. It won’t happen overnight,” Gajabahu emphasised.
The event calendar will feature a diverse range of activities, including a water festival, Ride for Ceylon and a ‘unique’ event in Sigiriya.
“I can’t divulge more details of the Sigiriya event but I can say it will be a surprise,” Gajabahu teased.
Additionally, a key meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) event is scheduled to be held in the south of Sri Lanka next year.
The recent surge in European tourists has been particularly encouraging for the tourism sector. The European tourists, known for their longer stays of nine to 10 days or even up to two weeks, contribute significantly to tourism revenue.
Gajabahu highlighted the success of influencer programmes in promoting Sri Lanka in emerging European markets such as Poland. The SLTPB plans to expand the influencer programme with a category-based approach.
Furthermore, the SLTPB, in collaboration with the European Union, will launch a wellness tourism campaign by inviting 30 influencers from Germany and France, starting from the 15th of this month.
With these new initiatives, the SLTPB is confident in surpassing its target of 2.3 million tourist arrivals and US $ 4 billion in income for the year

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Authorities of Sri Lanka Tourism address the media to share plans to make the island nation more attractive for international visitors
PIC BY NIMALSIRI EDIRISINGHE

  • SLTPB set to enter into agreements with a consortium of global brands, both foreign and domestic
  • Objective is to significantly boost tourism activities, with goal of increasing average daily spend of tourists
  • SLTPB chief hints ‘unique’ event to take place in Sigiriya
  • Plans afoot to collaborate with European Union to launch a wellness tourism campaign 

‘‘We will make it a more happening destination; 2024 is going to be a very positive year”
- Chalaka Gajabahu 

By Nishel Fernando 
Sri Lanka’s tourism sector is gearing up for a major transformation, as the authorities unveil an ambitious plan to make the country one of the world’s most dynamic and sought-after destinations. 
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Chalaka Gajabahu announced yesterday that the SLTPB is set to enter into agreements with a consortium of global brands, both foreign and domestic, to sponsor and promote a series of exciting events. This move comes as part of a larger strategy to boost tourism and make 2024 the best year yet for Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.

 “We will make it a more happening destination; 2024 is going to be a very positive year,” Gajabahu declared.
Sri Lanka’s tourism scene has long grappled with a shortage of compelling events and activities to engage tourists and encourage higher spending. This is a concern that has been frequently raised.
The fresh initiatives by the tourism authorities aim to significantly boost tourism activities, with the goal of increasing the average daily spend of tourists to US $ 500 from the current US $ 160, putting Sri Lanka in league with luxury destinations like the Maldives.
As per the provisional data by the Central Bank, the earnings per tourist witnessed a rebound in January 2024. The earnings per tourist arrival have improved to US $ 1,641 in January, from US $ 1,580 in the 1H23 period. In the 2H23 period, the earnings dropped significantly.
“This is a step-by-step process. It won’t happen overnight,” Gajabahu emphasised.
The event calendar will feature a diverse range of activities, including a water festival, Ride for Ceylon and a ‘unique’ event in Sigiriya.
“I can’t divulge more details of the Sigiriya event but I can say it will be a surprise,” Gajabahu teased.
Additionally, a key meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) event is scheduled to be held in the south of Sri Lanka next year.
The recent surge in European tourists has been particularly encouraging for the tourism sector. The European tourists, known for their longer stays of nine to 10 days or even up to two weeks, contribute significantly to tourism revenue.
Gajabahu highlighted the success of influencer programmes in promoting Sri Lanka in emerging European markets such as Poland. The SLTPB plans to expand the influencer programme with a category-based approach.
Furthermore, the SLTPB, in collaboration with the European Union, will launch a wellness tourism campaign by inviting 30 influencers from Germany and France, starting from the 15th of this month.
With these new initiatives, the SLTPB is confident in surpassing its target of 2.3 million tourist arrivals and US $ 4 billion in income for the year

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_d868f51d72.jpg 2024-02-15 09:55:00
Bus driver convicted for fatal train collision in 2009, arrested after evading court https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Bus-driver-convicted-for-fatal-train-collision-in-2009--arrested-after-evading-court/108-277029 https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Bus-driver-convicted-for-fatal-train-collision-in-2009--arrested-after-evading-court/108-277029 Polonnaruwa, Feb 14 (Daily Mirror) - A bus driver responsible for a tragic accident on May 16, 2009, at the Sevanapitiya Railway Crossing in Welikanda, which claimed the lives of 15 passengers and left 40 others seriously injured, has been arrested.

Police said the Polonnaruwa High Court issued the verdict in the case, sentencing the driver to death on September 22 last year.

The driver, who last appeared before court on August 05, 2022, failed to attend subsequent hearings, leading to the issuing of warrants for his arrest. 

The Welikanda Police arrested the accused today while he was avoiding courts.

The arrested individual is identified as a 39-year-old resident of Valaichchenai.

The accident occurred when a private bus carrying 70 passengers, including children from the Al-Hizma nursery in Valaichchenai and their parents, collided with a train at the railway crossing. The driver attempted to bypass the rail gate disregarding signals, resulting in the catastrophic collision.

The impact flung the bus about 200 metres away and caused a fire upon collision with the train, which was transporting fuel bowsers and passenger carriages from Gal-oya to Batticaloa. The train engine too sustained extensive damage in the collision.

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Polonnaruwa, Feb 14 (Daily Mirror) - A bus driver responsible for a tragic accident on May 16, 2009, at the Sevanapitiya Railway Crossing in Welikanda, which claimed the lives of 15 passengers and left 40 others seriously injured, has been arrested.

Police said the Polonnaruwa High Court issued the verdict in the case, sentencing the driver to death on September 22 last year.

The driver, who last appeared before court on August 05, 2022, failed to attend subsequent hearings, leading to the issuing of warrants for his arrest. 

The Welikanda Police arrested the accused today while he was avoiding courts.

The arrested individual is identified as a 39-year-old resident of Valaichchenai.

The accident occurred when a private bus carrying 70 passengers, including children from the Al-Hizma nursery in Valaichchenai and their parents, collided with a train at the railway crossing. The driver attempted to bypass the rail gate disregarding signals, resulting in the catastrophic collision.

The impact flung the bus about 200 metres away and caused a fire upon collision with the train, which was transporting fuel bowsers and passenger carriages from Gal-oya to Batticaloa. The train engine too sustained extensive damage in the collision.

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Debt payers slam CB’s silence on unregulated online lenders https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Debt-payers-slam-CB’s-silence-on-unregulated-online-lenders/108-276973 https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking-news/Debt-payers-slam-CB’s-silence-on-unregulated-online-lenders/108-276973

Leasing and debt installment payers  voiced concerns over Central Bank’s silence regarding the questionable practices of unregulated online loan providers in Sri Lanka. 

Under the banner ‘Association of Leasing and Debt Installment Payers (ALDS)’, the group asserted that borrowers have no legal obligation to repay loans obtained from these unauthorised online lenders.

“Despite numerous complaints passed over to the Central Bank (CB), there has been no response, leading to suspicions that CB officials may be benefiting from these institutions,” ALDS Deputy Secretary Asanka Sumedha Amarasingha alleged during a press briefing in Colombo recently.

According to Robocash which is rebranded as UNA Financial, the user base of Sri Lanka’s digital lending services have seen a 125-fold increase from 10,600 users in August 2021 to a staggering 1.3 million by November 2023.

Online payday loan providers using social media promotes advertisements offering instant cash loans online within 5-15 minutes, but with sky-high interest rates and high late fees.

Several recent incidents brought attention to illegal collection practices of some of online lending providers.
Amarasingha noted that these loan providers often harass borrowers, their family members and employers on a regular basis as part of their collections practices.

 

“Despite numerous complaints passed over to the Central Bank (CB), there has been no response, leading to suspicions that  CB officials may be benefiting from these institutions” - ALDS

 

According to Cyber Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), some online loan providers collect highly sensitive personal information of borrowers through a link sent to their mobile phones and use such information to harass, insult, and threaten borrowers if there is a delay or non-payment of loans.

Amarasingha claimed that unregulated online loan operations remain illegal in the country. Therefore, the Association advised the public who have obtained online loans from such unregulated online lenders, are under no obligation to repay such loans, although they may choose to do so.

Six online lenders operating in Sri Lanka have formed Digital Alternative Lending Association (DALA) as a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Act No. 7 of 2007 (No. GA00244823) to promote and protect the digital lending business in Sri Lanka. The Association published DALA Code of Conduct for self regulation of the sector.

According to the Association, its members employ more than 400 people with a customer base of  over 750,000 Sri Lankans.
The government is planning to establish a Credit Regulatory Authority under the Microfinance and Credit Regulatory Authority Bill to regulate non-deposit taking lending institutions including  as  digital lenders.

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Leasing and debt installment payers  voiced concerns over Central Bank’s silence regarding the questionable practices of unregulated online loan providers in Sri Lanka. 

Under the banner ‘Association of Leasing and Debt Installment Payers (ALDS)’, the group asserted that borrowers have no legal obligation to repay loans obtained from these unauthorised online lenders.

“Despite numerous complaints passed over to the Central Bank (CB), there has been no response, leading to suspicions that CB officials may be benefiting from these institutions,” ALDS Deputy Secretary Asanka Sumedha Amarasingha alleged during a press briefing in Colombo recently.

According to Robocash which is rebranded as UNA Financial, the user base of Sri Lanka’s digital lending services have seen a 125-fold increase from 10,600 users in August 2021 to a staggering 1.3 million by November 2023.

Online payday loan providers using social media promotes advertisements offering instant cash loans online within 5-15 minutes, but with sky-high interest rates and high late fees.

Several recent incidents brought attention to illegal collection practices of some of online lending providers.
Amarasingha noted that these loan providers often harass borrowers, their family members and employers on a regular basis as part of their collections practices.

 

“Despite numerous complaints passed over to the Central Bank (CB), there has been no response, leading to suspicions that  CB officials may be benefiting from these institutions” - ALDS

 

According to Cyber Crime Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), some online loan providers collect highly sensitive personal information of borrowers through a link sent to their mobile phones and use such information to harass, insult, and threaten borrowers if there is a delay or non-payment of loans.

Amarasingha claimed that unregulated online loan operations remain illegal in the country. Therefore, the Association advised the public who have obtained online loans from such unregulated online lenders, are under no obligation to repay such loans, although they may choose to do so.

Six online lenders operating in Sri Lanka have formed Digital Alternative Lending Association (DALA) as a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Act No. 7 of 2007 (No. GA00244823) to promote and protect the digital lending business in Sri Lanka. The Association published DALA Code of Conduct for self regulation of the sector.

According to the Association, its members employ more than 400 people with a customer base of  over 750,000 Sri Lankans.
The government is planning to establish a Credit Regulatory Authority under the Microfinance and Credit Regulatory Authority Bill to regulate non-deposit taking lending institutions including  as  digital lenders.

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https://bmkltsly13vb.compat.objectstorage.ap-singapore-1.oraclecloud.com/cdn.sg.dailymirror.lk/assets/uploads/image_c334694866.jpg 2024-02-14 07:21:00