President Maithripala Sirisena has promised Customs trade unions that he will within two weeks arrange a meeting between Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake, Finance Ministry officials, the Customs administration and the trade unions, regarding the proposed repeal of the Customs Ordinance.

Customs trade unions met President Sirisena this week.

Secretary of the All Ceylon Customs Services Union, J. Gunathilaka said that President had however not promised anything with regards to putting an end to the proposed repeal of the Customs Ordinance.

“We informed President Sirisena that there was no necessity to repeal the Customs Ordinance as such would only further strengthen the activities of thieves and racketeers and discourage the Customs officers,” he noted, adding that such was therefore not in the country’s national interest or economic interests.

Customs trade unions have also requested meetings with groups with influence, political clout and lobbying capacity such as the Bar Association of Sri Lanka and the Federation of University Teachers Associations as part of a move to create a discourse among the people about the issue.

“Karunanayake has and is preparing a draft of bill for a new Act to replace the Customs Ordinance. This has been discussed in the Cabinet too. We are conducting a leaflet distribution campaign near the Colombo Fort Railway Station along with a poster campaign to make the people aware about this,” he explained.