Temporary ban on arms purchases
The Government is to place a temporary ban on all military procurements in view of cash constraints to meet all the projected needs of the armed forces.
This ban is to be reviewed only after a full assessment of procurement needs is completed. Such an assessment, The Sunday Times learns, will be on strict criteria that will include suitability, the urgent need and the immediate benefits that will accrue to each armed force.

A Treasury directive, according to Government sources, is to be sent out to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Police explaining the temporary ban. In determining to enforce this ban, both the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury have in the past week acknowledged the need to permit what is being described as most urgent needs.

However, the ban has been prompted by what is being described as projected needs that are both unsuitable and far out of proportion with the present needs. One such case, defence sources told The Sunday Times yesterday was a list of ships and other requirements recommended by the Sri Lanka Navy. If allowed, it would run into billions of dollars or rupees.

A case which the Government appointed Procurement Committee is to reject is a recommendation by Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy and Chief of Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri, to procure a British-built logistics landing craft, Sir Gallahad at a staggering cost of Rs 36 billion (reported erroneously earlier as Rs 18 billion).

The committee headed by former Defence Secretary Chandrananda de Silva which received Vice Admiral Sandagiri's recommendation to procure this vessel later interviewed several other senior Navy officers. They held the view that this purchase would be a colossal loss to the Navy.
(Visit also Situation Report)

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