The Government will buy 2.200 new buses at a cost of more than Rs. 5 billion for the Sri Lanka Transport Board from next year.

The recommendation came from Transport Minister Kumara Welgama who has proposed that a supplier’s credit be negotiated with the manufacturer – Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC — for this purpose.

Cabinet has appointed a negotiating committee to discuss bulk discounts offered by the company. The committee chaired by Technology and Research Ministry’ Secretary Dhara Wijethilake will include Transport Ministry Secretary Dhammika Perera. Petroleum Industry Ministry Secretary R.S.S. Samaratunga. Productivity Promotion Ministry Secretary Damitha de Zoysa. and the Treasury’s Deputy Secretary B.M.S. Batagoda.

Among the other factors the ministers have agreed on are:

  1. To allocate Rs 1000 million a year for five years from the General Treasury to settle the cost of buying these buses for the SLTB and for the SLTB to bear the balance costs.
  2. To grant funds from the annual budget in the future, only for the losses of income to the SLTB due to operations on uneconomical routes and for issuance of school season tickets.
  3. To settle the statutory dues such as EPF and ETF contributions from the funds generated through the sale of non-economical and unserviceable buses.

It may be recalled that the ministers recently decided to allow three state sector concerns -the State Plantations Corporation. the Janatha Estates Development Board and Elkaduwa Plantations – to fell trees in their plantations to settle statutory dues of the employees. The cutting down of trees for this purpose is under way

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