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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2586

Sri Lanka Postal Department in Collaboration With Western Union in International Money Transfer services

Colombo, 25 April, (Asiantribune.com): Cabinet has granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Mahinda Wijesekara, Minister of Posts & Telecommunications, to set up an international money transfer service through the Sri Lanka Postal Department to enhance the foreign currency inflow to the country in collaboration with Western Union Money Transfer.

Western Union officials in a discussion with the Minister and relevant officials of the Ministry including the Postmaster General have agreed on the following:

1. Of the revenues generated through the transactions done through the Post Offices, 25% to be paid to Department of Posts

2. To settle in US $ within one business day to Department of Posts

3. Provide a guarantee/security of 1.5 times the disbursement amount during the proposed settlement period.

4. Invest US $ 492,000 in personal computers ("PCs") modems, printers (where required), a Western Union" glow sign board" merchandising materials and marketing support for 656 post office locations in the first instance and expand the service to all the other 3500 Sub Post office within a year.

5. Train Postal employees on new info-tech such as computers and internet usage.

Through this agreement, Sri Lanka will have following benefits:
1. Treasury will not be burdened for any financial support for this project.

2. Western Union will be investing in the infrastructural development of the Postal
Department to enable Post Offices to act as money transfer agents.

3. Additional revenue to Department of Posts.

4. Help the legal transfer of foreign currency to the country and curb terrorist financing.

5. Uplift the rural villages through foreign remittance reaching the villages.

6. Have the opportunity to recruit a few additional employees.

The agreement to offer an International Money Transfer service through Sri Lanka Postal Department to enhance the foreign currency inflow to the country in collaboration with Western Union Money Transfer Service (Western Union Networks (France) SAS) was signed on the 22nd of April at 10.00 a.m.

Summary of the Cabinet’s other Decisions

Renewal of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on sending Sri Lankan workers to the Republic of Korea

Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare, for the renewal of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on sending Sri Lankan workers to the Republic of Korea under the employment permits system.

The MOU is valid for two years. A note was been submitted to Cabinet and the consent was granted for the renewal of the said MOU. The renewed MOU which was signed on 29th May 2006 is due to expire in May 2008 and a new draft has been submitted by the Korean Authorities to renew the MOU for another two years commencing from May 2008.

The purpose of this MOU is to establish a framework for co-operation between the Ministry of Labor of the Republic of Korea and the Ministry of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and to enhance transparency and efficiency in the process of sending Sri Lankan workers to the Republic of Korea by setting out the provisions of the two Ministries with regard to sending of workers under the employment permit system introduced by the government of the Republic of Korea.

A large number of prospective migrant workers will be benefited through the employment permit system as the Republic of Korea plans to have 72,000 foreign workers in year 2008 from the twelve selected countries including Sri Lanka. These workers will be absorbed to manufacturing, construction, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and tourist and hotel sectors. In terms of number of workers sent (amounting to 2,767 in year 2007), Sri Lanka placed in the 6th position out of 12 countries that send workers to Korea.

Registration of Selacine Television Institute as an entity under the Companies Act

Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister of Mass Media and Information, for the registration of Selacine Television Institute as a public company under the Companies Act.

The Selacine Television Institute which was launched under the Ministry of Plan Implementation in 1982 was later brought under the Ministry of Mass Media and Information. Nevertheless, the Selacine Television Institute has not been legally instituted, up to now.

The fact that Selacine, a Government-owned Advertising Agency has not yet been instituted as a legal entity has considerably limited the scope of its operations.

In order to solve these problems and build stability as a commercially viable and competitive business organization, the Selacine Institute should be instituted as a Public Company under the Companies Act No. 07 of 2007. It will be instituted as a Public Company under the provisions of Companies Act No. 07 of 2007 under the name of 'Selacine Limited', functioning under the Ministry of Mass Media and Information where the Government is the absolute shareholder.

Grant of Houses and Housing Allotments to Beneficiaries under the Tsunami Scheme

Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Karu Jayasuriya, Minister of Public Administration & Home Affairs, for the Grant of Houses and Housing Allotments to Beneficiaries under the Tsunami Scheme.

A parcel of land called Karanketiya, a portion of Walahanduwa watta owned by the Land Reforms Commission, 27 Acs 02R. 02. 1 P in extent, and situated in the Pilana Grama Niladhari Division in the Akmeemana Divisional Secretary's area has been utilized by benefactors under the Housing Programme for the construction of houses for 90 families who have been living in the protected area within the Divisional Secretary's Division of the four Gravets, in Galle, in the Galle District which was destroyed in the Tsunami.

The need has arisen for the government to immediately acquire this land, owned by the Land Reforms Commission, 27 Acs. 02R. and 02.1 P in extent and known as Karanketiya, situated in Walahanduwa watta in the Pilana Grama Niladhari Division within the Akmeemana Divisional Secretary's division in the Galle district in the Southern Province.

The construction of these houses was undertaken by the Donor Agency called Tsunami Relief Corporation Baden Wurttemberg, Germany, and this Agency has requested that action be taken expeditiously to grant these houses and the housing allotments to the beneficiaries of the Tsunami Aid Scheme.

Construction of a model village near the proposed Weerawila International Airport

Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Chamal Rajapaksa, Minister of Ports & Aviation, for the construction of a model village near the proposed Weerawila International Airport.

Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited, which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Ports & Aviation, wishes to construct an Airport Model Village affiliated with the proposed Development of Weerawila International Airport.

The total estimated cost of the project will be Rs. 175 million.

This will include the supply of water, electricity, roads, sewerage, rain water harvesting tank facilities and environmental planning.

The expenditure will be borne by Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd. It is proposed to engage the services of the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) for the above work under sections of Government Tender Guidelines, in view of the urgent need for these facilities to support the Airport Development Project.

Establishment of an 'Urban Settlement Development Authority'

Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Urban Development and Sacred Area Development, for the establishment of an 'Urban Settelment Development Authority'.

The draft bill for the establish an institution by the name "Urban Settlement Development Authority" (USDA) will be present to the Parliament with the view to undertake improvement of living conditions and construction and upgrading of housing units in underserved settlements in Colombo city and other urban cities.

Procurement of 40 Double Cabs by the Ministry of Healthcare & Nutrition

Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Nimal Siripala De Silva, Minister of Health Care and Nutrition for the procurement of 40 Double Cabs that would be utilized in the transportation services of the Medical Offices of Health in rural areas.

The treasury has allocated Rs. 200 million from the 2008 budget for the procurement of these Cabs. The amount allocated for each Double Cab is Rs. 5 million.

The Ministry of Healthcare & Nutrition has decided to allocate these funds to buy 'Moozo Sports' Double Cabs produced by the local motor production company, Micro (pvt) Ltd. Each Cab will be procured at a cost of Rs. 5250000.00 inclusive of 20% VAT.

Medirigiriya Water Supply Scheme

Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by A.L.M. Athaullah, Minister of Water Supply & Drainage to set up a water supply scheme in Medirigiriya.

The Project will serve a population of 44,188 with safe drinking water by the year 2025.

Tenders were called by adopting National Procurement Agency bidding procedures. At the Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (CAPC) meeting held on 01.01.2008, it was concluded to recommend the award of the Contract to M/s Squire Mech Engineering (Pvt) Ltd, for a sum of RS.324, 839,496.10 plus VAT Rs.48, 725,924.42 as per the CAPC recommendation.

Construction of Hostels at Rajagiriya & Dehiwela for the University of Visual & Performing Arts

Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by Prof. W.A.Wiswa Warnapala, Minister of Higher Education for the Construction of Hostels at Rajagiriya & Dehiwela for the University Of Visual & Performing Arts.

The estimated costs of the two projects are as follows,

1) Hostel (400) Female students at Rajagiriya -Rs.193 million

2) Hostel (400) Male students at Dehiwela -Rs.205 million

Hambantota Water Supply Project

Cabinet granted approval to a memorandum submitted by A.L.M. Athaullah, Minister of Water Supply & Drainage, for the Hambantota Water Supply Project which comes under the Secondary Towns rural community based water supply and sanitation project.

The Government has received a loan from Asian Development Bank (ADB) towards the cost of developing secondary towns and implementing rural community based water supply & sanitation projects. The Hambantota Water Supply Scheme is one of the urban sub projects to be implemented under the above project. The Hambantota Water Supply Project will serve 140,000 persons of the district with safe drinking water in the year 2025.

Accordingly the contract will be awarded to M/s Sierra Construction to the price of US$ 1,592,649.22 plus Local duties and taxes LKR 28,106,952.31 plus Civil work LKR 853,053,792.66 and LKR.181, 606,559.98 as VAT.

- Asian Tribune -

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