The Presidential Secretariat has issued a gazette notification on the appointment of a Presidential Task Force under Basil Rajapaksa.
According to the gazette signed by President’s Secretary P.B. Jayasundara, 40 members will comprise what will be called as the Presidential Task Force to Coordinate and Monitor the Delivery of Continuous Services for the Sustenance of Overall Community Life.
Additional Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, Anton Perera, has been appointed as the Secretary of the Task Force.
The special unit has been tasked with coordinating with the relevant authorities to facilitate the import of essential foods and drugs as well as the export of goods such as tea and sanitary clothing.
Further, the task force has been vested with the responsibility to organise and operate Lanka Sathosa, cooperative network, Cargills, Keells, Arpico and Laughs retail network to supply agricultural products directly to customers.
The gazette also stated that the Presidential Task Force should take steps to focus special attention on women, low-income families and persons directly at risk when undertaking the above measures.
According to the gazette, the responsibilities of the Presidential Task Force are as follows:
- Provide facilities required by farmers for farming activities for the production of paddy, cereals, vegetables, fruit, fish, meat, milk and eggs, as well as plantation products such as tea, cinnamon and pepper.
- Organise and operate Lanka Sathosa, cooperative network, Cargills, Keells, Arpico and Laughs retail network to supply agricultural products direct to customers.
- Operate the distribution mechanism to supply farm products received at Economic Centres to customers in those areas as well as in towns at the household level.
- Coordinate with Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Sri Lanka Customs, corporate Banking Sector and other Government regulatory agencies and take necessary action to facilitate the import of essential foods and drugs as well as the export of tea, sanitary clothing etc.
- Provide fuel, security, banking assistance for transport of rice, coconuts, tea, animal feed, domestically produced sanitary clothing and food.
- Provide health and sanitation facilities to drivers and assistants of vehicles such as lorries, three-wheelers, buses and motor cycles transporting essential services and goods to customers, and keep selected fuel stations of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation open during curfew hours to supply them with fuel.
- Direct and provide facilities to Agriculture Department, Agrarian Services Department, Samurdhi Authority, Cooperative Farmer Societies, Farmer Organizations, and private seed production organizations to supply seed, seedlings, fertilizer and machinery for farming activities.
- Direct officials engaged in rural projects to encourage seed farms, popularize organic fertilizer use and encourage production of home crops, and as far as possible, popularize home gardens as a supply for self-consumption.
- Direct and take measures to provide required loan facilities to farmers via Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, Regional Development Banks and Samurdhi Bank branches.
- Implement appropriate measures for waste disposal in rural and urban areas and maintain continuous electricity and water supply services.
- Take steps to focus special attention on women, low-income families and persons directly at risk when undertaking above measures.
- Ensure that all bank branches remain open for a minimum of 04 hours a day utilizing minimum staff to provide essential banking services to customers.