Sri Lanka President orders release of Rs1.8 billion from Covid-19 fund

The funds will be used to import essential medicines

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Published: Sat 4 Jun 2022, 10:51 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Jun 2022, 11:00 AM

Amid Sri Lanka’s unprecedented economic crisis, its President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has ordered the release of Rs1.8 billion from the Covid-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund for the import of essential medicines.

The president made this remark during the discussion at its official residence in Colombo regarding matters of urgent concern in the field of the health sector.

The president said that the funds which were given by donors to control the coronavirus disease can be used for health needs as the Covid-19 epidemic is now under control, Colombo Page reported citing President’s Media Division.

According to the release, President Rajapaksa pointed out the possibility of rapidly increasing the local pharmaceutical manufacturing and obtaining the necessary raw materials in this regard under the Indian credit line.

There are 12 investors in the pharmaceutical sector in Oyamaduwa and Millewa area in Horana. The production in those factories is expected to begin in the next few months and has the potential to produce more than 200 types of drugs in these regions, the officials said.

Sri Lanka President further said that the Ministry of Samurdhi and Education is planning to provide nutritious meals to primary school children and pregnant mothers.

The Officials pointed out that based on the current progress in the health sector it would return to normal within the next three months.

Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella, President’s Chief of Staff, Anura Dissanayake, Finance Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena, Secretary to the Ministry of Health SJS Chandragupta, Additional Secretary Saman Ratnayake and Heads of Line Institutions of the Ministry were also present at the discussion, according to Colombo Page.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan President has instructed the officials to maintain adequate stocks of all essential food items to prevent a shortage of goods.

Gotabaya pointed out that it could prevent the organized efforts of some businessmen to increase prices by artificially creating a shortage of goods and acting on people’s fears, Xinhua news agency reported.

He said a portion of the agricultural products currently being sent to the wholesale market should be made available directly to grocery stores.

The Sri Lankan president said this would reduce the cost of transportation and enable consumers to purchase goods at lower prices and farmers to obtain higher prices.


Rajapaksa also instructed the Consumer Affairs Authority to take legal action against those who take advantage of the prevailing situation and sell goods at unfair prices.

Sri Lanka is mired in an economic and political crisis. Large-scale protests have been taking place for months, leading to the ouster of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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