Written by Staff Writer
04 Aug, 2015 | 12:34 pm
Speaking at an event in Colombo on MondayPresident Mathripala Sirisena commented on the obstacles he faced in drafting the National Health Bill.
The 18th Memorial Oration of late Prof. Nandadasa Kodagoda ws held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo on Monday under the auspices of President Maithripala Sirisena. A special medal was presented to the President at the event.
Speaking at the event, the President said that he recalls how the Health Bill disappeared a week before it was presented to cabinet. After that it was drafted again and a year later it was ready to be presented to cabinet for the second time. The President said:
At that moment, a businessman from the health sector spoke to me about it. I told him it would be presented to cabinet next week. He asked me, do you know what happened to it the last time? I said it disappeared. He asked me if I knew of what happened beyond that. I told him to explain it to me. So, 2.5 million was obtained from one company.
He further stated that the Director General of Health might know how many companies were registered with the Ministry of Health. So if each company paid 2.5 million, you can calculate how much was paid to make the Health Bill disappear.
The President said:
When the tobacco advisory was to presented to Cabinet and gazetted, while I was serving as the Minister of Health, I was told that if it was gazetted, not a single foreigner would come to Sri Lanka. There will be no freedom to smoke cigarette in Sri Lanka. I told them there is no ban in the bill but an advisory. If you wish to smoke you can, if you do not wish to smoke you don’t need to. There was no ban on it. They said that if this was passed the entire tourism industry will be affected. Cabinet rejected it.
The President concluded that later, on the 8th of January he was elected as President by the people. They presented the bill to parliament to raise the 60 percent to 80 percent and that bill was passed in Parliament.
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