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Economic News in Brief

Fertiliser subsidy
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Management has decided to grant the fertilizer subsidy to tea, coconut and rubber smallholders who own a cultivated land in extent of one hectare or less, in proportion to the extent of land cultivated annually. A financial subsidy of Rs. 15,000 for tea sector, Rs. 9,000 for coconut sector and Rs. 5,000 for rubber sector is granted. The proposal made by Minister of Plantation Industries, Navin Dissanayake to increase the current extent of land from 1 hectare to 02 hectares with the view of benefitting more cultivators under the above subsidy scheme, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Vavuniya Economic Centre
The government last week said selection of a suitable place to construct the Economic Centre in Vavuniya has been assigned to the Vavuniya District Development Committee. It was required to complete the construction using budgetary allocations within this year. The government has decided to construct 2 Economic Centres in Mankulam of Mullaitivu District and in Mathauvaithakulam in Vavuniya District.

Expressways
Sri Lanka will call bids from Japanese firms for the construction of the third phase of Central Expressway from Pothuhera, near Kurunegala to Galagedera in Kandy comprising of a 32 kilometre stretch. Meanwhile, the government has proposed to construct the Ratnapura Expressway (73.9 km) from Kahathuduwa interchange on the Southern Expressway to Pelmadulla in four phases. Feasibility studies, preliminary design and environmental impact assessment are being carried out at present with the EXIM bank of China agreeing to fund its civil work construction. The cabinet last week decided to call for technical and financial proposals from companies recommended by the Government of China for the each part of the road.

Lubricant liberalisation
Sri Lanka will issue more licenses to import lubricants and double fees, set quality standards, and formalise the regulator, Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka, said last week. The cabinet of ministers had approved a proposal by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to double a license fee charged every six months to Rs. 2 million from the current Rs. 1 million by raisng the registration fee to Rs. 6 million from Rs. 5 million. Applications for new licences would be called by the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development.