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Delegation headed by Secretary, Ministry of Finance has  visited Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 6th to 9th April 2019 for the loan negotiation of the “CONSTRUCTION OF FACULTY OF MEDICINE PROJECT OF THE SABARAGAMUWA UNIVERSITY IN SRI LANKA AT RATNAPURA” with Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). Project is launched with the aim of constructing the essentially needed infrastructure facilities and to provide the students with the state of the art teaching and learning facilities (laboratory and other equipment) that would facilitate in providing the students with world class medical education at the Faculty of Medicine at Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka.  Further, a new Faculty of Medicine creates more opportunities for the Advanced Level qualified students (in Bio-Science stream) to obtain opportunity to follow the MBBS degree Program and also contribute to the government policy of enhancing the health care system in Sri Lanka.  SFD has agreed to provide a concessional loan of SAR 187.5 Million in this regard.

 

Sri Lanka launched its School Feeding Programme in 1931, the modality of the feeding program has been changed several times based on the situation on the ground and, especially, on the government's focus on addressing social and nutritional issues. The current school meal program was commenced by the then government in 2002 and expanded gradually considering nutritional needs and promotion of local food production and healthy food habits. WFP assisted the provision of school meals for school children in 2003 in the conflict-affected areas in active partnership with the Ministry of Education (MoE) in Sri Lanka. After the successful partnership, the WFP Sri Lanka handed back their dependent school to MoE in 2017.

World Food Programme in Laos is currently assist their School Meal Programme and they plan to hand over the programme to  the Laos government, the first phase of this will be in June 2019. As part of the handover process, WFP and the Ministry of Education and Sports in Laos arranged a study visit to Sri Lanka to study our school meal programme. As a result, the Government of Sri Lanka (the Department of External Resources -ERD) arranged a special meeting for Lao People’s Democratic Republic delegation to brief the Sri Lanka School Meal Programme on      18 March, 9 am to 11 am at the Ministry of Finance.

The major criteria the delegation expected to study are Sri Lanka’s experiences on integrating school meal programme in to the government budget, explore how the implementation is under government’s roles and responsibilities including modality and model, village/local levels participation and the community contribution system, Sri Lanka Government, cooperate with WFP in term of managing the programme and WFP- Sri Lanka’s role and supports to the Government.

Officers of Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Ministry of NPEA, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant departments were participated at the meeting to share their experiences with the delegation.Ministry of Education made a presentation, explaining the School Feeding Programme in detail.

At the discussion representatives of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicines, Presidential Secretariat and the Department of National Planning explained further the policy status, inclusion of nutrition and health activities to school meal program and the national level prioritization and contribution on the programme. The Laos delegation appreciate our School Meal Programme and outline the potential areas to be updated in Lao PDR School Meal Programme.

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Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) had fielded a mission in Sri Lanka during 27th February to 1st March 2019 to review the progress of SFD funded projects. During the mission, SFD officials had project review discussions on following SFD funded projects,

  • Epilepsy Hospital and Health Centers Project
  • Kalu Ganga Development Project
  • Road Network Development Project
  • Badulla – Chenkaladi Road Improvement Project
  • Left Bank Development Project in Kalu Ganga
  • Wayamba University Township Development Project

Further, SFD has agreed to provide Saudi Riyal 187.5 million (USD 50 Million) for the Establishment of Medical Faculty for the University of Sabaragamuwa and Loan Negotiation will be held on April this year. The proposed project will increase the opportunity for talented advanced Level qualified students to enter the National University system.

Since, there is a continued close collaboration and very cordial partnership between two countries, SFD has agreed to provide more financial assistance to enhance the economic development of Sri Lanka by implementing development projects for the benefit of the people of Sri Lanka.

 

The Government of Sri Lanka (the Department of External Resources (ERD) and the Department of National Planning (NPD)) and the Independent Office of Evaluation (IOE) of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (sponsor of the National Workshop) held a one-day workshop at the Taj Samudra Hotel,Colombo yesterday (13.3.2019) to share the conclusions of an independent evaluation of IFAD's country strategy and rural development programme in Sri Lanka.

The workshop presented the main conclusions and recommendations of the evaluation which analyses the past 13 years of rural investment that IFAD has undertaken together with the Government. The event was also an opportunity to discuss how IFAD can best support the country in developing the rural sector, strengthen policy engagement and partnerships in the country, and better involve the private sector in agricultural value chains and assist smallholder farmers to access credit.

The workshop has brought together rural development experts and evaluators from Sri Lanka including Mr. K D S Ruwanchandra, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Economic Affairs, Livestock Development, Irrigation and Fisheries & Aquatic Resources Development, Mr.  J A Ranjith, Secretary, Ministry of Plantation Industries, DG/NPD, Actg.DG/ERD, DG/Department of Development Fund, etc, IFAD including Mr Donal Brown, Associate Vice President, Programme Management Department, Mr Nigel Brett, Director, IFAD Asia and the Pacific Division and Mr Oscar Garcia, IOE Director, and other organizations and international development institutions. The participants were around 150.

Discussions addressed key issues and strategic priorities to be included in a new strategy that promotes development effectiveness with the aim of eradicating rural poverty in the country.

Finally, it was concluded with the signing of the Agreement at Completion Point (ACP) which contains recommendations based on the evaluation findings and conclusions presented in the CSPE report, as well as proposed follow-up actions, in between              Mr. Ajith Abeysekera, Actg. Director General, Department of External Resources and      Mr Donal Brown, Associate Vice President, Programme Management Department, IFAD. The signed ACP is an integral part of the CSPE report in which the evaluation findings are presented in detail, and will be submitted to the IFAD Executive Board as an annex to the new country strategic opportunities programme for Sri Lanka.

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As the request of the Government of Sri Lanka based on the project proposal submitted by the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, the Government of India has agreed to provide grant assistance of LKR 250 million for this project under its Small Development Project (SDP). The aim of this project is to support the continuing economic development of the Northern Province, through the generation of new employment opportunities for young people and new entrepreneurs in the emerging sectors like information technology and other professional services. The approval of the Cabinet of Miniters’ has been grant to for this Indian grant project. The Memorandum of Understanding for this project between Government of Sri Lanka and Government of India has been ceremonially signed on 21st February 2019 at Temple Trees.

 

 

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