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From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

The change is intended to accommodate more phone numbers to feed the growing demand for telephone and data services. rn

rnThe Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has set May 1 as the deadline for telecommunication service providers to make the change. rn

rnSri Lanka Telecom (SLT) will make the first switch over before the end of the week with its new Jaffna exchange. rn

rnA spokesperson for SLT
quote s new numbering plan implementation committee said the company would implement its changeover in stages spread out through to May 2003. rn

rnMeanwhile, other telecommunication services providers are expected to make implement their new numbering scheme overnight. rn

rnA national numbering plan is due to be released, outlining the proposed new phone numbers and its rollout. rn

rnTRC officials say each operator will have two new digits unique to each company introduced in front of their existing numbers.