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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2423

Sri Lanka Government moves to further facilitate easy flow of essential goods to Jaffna

Colombo, 12 September, (Asiantribune.com): The Government has taken a series of policy decisions which it expects to implement immediately in order to streamline the movement of essential items to the North.

The decisions, which were arrived at a high level meeting attended by senior officers of the security forces, the Ports Authority and the Commissioner General of Essential Services are aimed at dealing with issues such as delays, the transport of adequate quantities and thereby to achieve price stability.

A press release by the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process states as follows:

Arrangements have been made to send two extra barges to Jaffna currently with the Mineral Sands Corporation (Pvt) Ltd., in Trincomalee. Presently there are 11 shipping lines operating between Colombo and Jaffna, the unloading in Jaffna takes place at the pier and at sea (on barges, of which there are 12). There are 6 barges requiring repairs, which will be carried out in Jaffna under the supervision of Rear Admiral Ratnakeerthi (CGES)Specifically, the Ports Authority will be simplifying procedures to expedite the movement of ships and all relevant forms will be made available in all three languages. Immediate steps will also be taken to improve cooperation with the private sector so that larger quantities of essential items can be shipped to the North.

In a move to improve efficiency, the daily wages of workers in Jaffna involved in loading and unloading goods will be paid directly by the GA, in keeping with the Ports Authority wage-structure. Payments to workers from the islands will be expedited and the Government will bear extra costs where necessary.

A Cabinet Paper in this regard will be presented on September 12, 2007. Importantly, Customs will withdraw all involvement since the process constitutes inland shipping. Taxes and tariffs will be removed to simplify procedures further and tariff amendments for goods coming into Colombo from Jaffna will be instituted. All these are to be included in the Cabinet Paper.

A manager with proven expertise in handling ports issues for the Jaffna Port will be appointed immediately. Finally, rates paid to the Ports Authority will be channeled for the maintenance of the port.

In anticipation of the monsoon, the CGES will take over a Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society store with a capacity of 2000MT located in the Mylidy High Security Zone and repaired with assistance from the World Food Program. This has been necessitated partly because of the prohibitive costs (Rs. 100 million) involved in building a new storage facility and the need to get it done before October.

International standards regarding procedures on shipping subjected to measures necessitated by the security situation will remain in place with all parties required to comply with these.

- Asian Tribune -

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