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New laws to curb political appointments to boards; new employee centre focused on unions & their rights: President

In a move aimed at fostering a conducive environment for national development, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has announced his intention to introduce legislation that will depoliticize board appointments across government institutions. The President emphasized the need to ensure that appointments are made based on merit and expertise rather than political affiliations.

Acknowledging the country’s ongoing economic recovery, President Wickremesinghe revealed a strategic decision to defer debt payments until 2027. The focus will be on renegotiating repayment terms to extend them until 2042. This move aims to safeguard the Sri Lankan economy from collapse under the weight of debt burdens.

While deferring debt payments is a crucial step, the President also highlighted the challenge posed by reliance on imports. To meet the country’s needs, further borrowing may be necessary.

"However, reliance on imports may necessitate further borrowing, prompting us to prioritize strategies for repayment," President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

"Moreover, we have opted to restrict domestic borrowing, affecting the availability of funds from institutions like the Employee Provident Fund. This prompts considerations on whether to invest domestically or internationally, sparking discussions within the trade union movement."

Recognizing the pivotal role of the financial sector in economic progress, President Wickremesinghe outlined plans to fortify key institutions. The People’s Bank, the Bank of Ceylon, and the National Savings Bank will receive continued support while maintaining government ownership. Additionally, efforts will be made to secure government influence in limited and private banks to bolster the financial sector and propel economic growth.

To address labor rights and effective methods for trade unions, the government will establish an employee center. This center will focus on the formation of new trade unions, securing employee rights, and determining best practices. An annual budget allocation will sustain this important work, and further discussions are expected.

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