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* Sri Lanka's provincial council system needs changes for more meaningful devolution - President
Fri, Nov 9, 2012, 01:45 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 09, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that a change in the prevailing Provincial Council system is necessary to make devolution more meaningful to the people.

Delivering his 2013 budget speech in the parliament Thursday, the President has noted that devolution should not be a political reform that will lead the country to separation but a mechanism that would unify the country.

"Instead it should be a one that unifies all of us," the President noted.

The provincial council system should not involve high spending and complex governance structures that will impose further burden on people, President Rajapaksa stressed.

While acknowledging that government's overall development strategy has strengthened new economies in each province and supported revenue needs of Provincial Councils, the President pointed out that Provincial Councils need to adopt a single uniform levy in place of all taxes, fees, charges and levies to simplify the provincial revenue administration to facilitate business development.

The President has added that devolution should not involve high spending and complex governance structures that will impose further burden on people.

The elimination of provincial disparities using national standards is the main weapon through which national reconciliation can be promoted, the President stressed.

Referring to the Northern Provincial Council election, President Rajapaksa noted that the government was committed to conducting the election in the North.

"We remain firmly committed to conduct Provincial Council Elections next year, to facilitate democratic representations to promote peace and development," the President assured.

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