GMOA wants Prez to appoint commission

Formulating national policy on international pacts


By Dasun Edirisinghe

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) will meet President Maithripala Sirisena today (11) to urge him to appoint a special commission to formulate a National Policy on International Trading Agreements prior to signing the Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at the President’s official residence in Paget Road at 6.00pm.

Representatives from the GMOA met Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrema and Adviser to the Prime Minister Charitha Ratwatte last week for that purpose

GMOA President Dr Anuruddha Padeniya told The Island they would meet the President with a model gazette notification announcing the appointment of a special commission.

 "We negotiated with the then government in 2003 to draft the gazette notification to appoint the National Salaries and Cadre Commission (NSCC) to formulate the national wages policy," Dr. Padeniya said.

 Dr. Padeniya said although the UNF government was in power in 2003, then President Chandrika Bandaranike Kumaratunga had issued a gazette notification to appoint the NSCC by exercising the executive powers vested in her according to the Article 33 of the Constitution.

That gazette notification had stated that it had been issued to usher in good governance, he said.

Dr. Padeniya said his association would urge President Sirisena to emulate President Kumaratunga in that respect.

Most of the countries in the world including African states had national policies on international trade and all international agreements they entered into had to conform to them.

The GMOA President said there was a provision in the draft of the ETCA agreement that it would be implemented without violating of national policies of either country, but Sri Lanka didn’t have such a policy whereas India had.

Dr. Padeniya said when they made inquires about a national policy on international trade from a director of the World Trade Organisation who visited Sri Lanka recently and delivered a lecture at the BMICH, he had said every country had to have such a policy.

"We signed a free trade agreement on goods with India in 1998 and implemented it with effect from 2000 without a national policy and as a result it has been disadvantageous to Sri Lanka during the last 16 years," the GMOA President said, adding that the agreement had been reviewed only in 2003.

Dr. Padeniya added that a book, titled ‘National Approach to Trade Agreements’ authored by him would also be handed over to President Sirisena this evening.

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