A diligent presidency | Daily News
Key dates of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s first year in office

A diligent presidency

November 18, 2019

Gotabaya Rajapaksa was sworn-in as the seventh Executive President of Sri Lanka before Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and in the presence of Tri-forces commanders. The ceremony took place at Ruwanwelisaya Stupa premises in Anuradhapura. Following the swearing-in, Gotabaya Rajapaksa delivered his first address to the nation as the President of Sri Lanka.

November 29, 2019

President Rajapaksa who arrived in India making his first overseas visit since assuming office was welcomed in grandeur at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said he will strive to elevate Indo – Sri Lanka relations to the highest level possible during his tenure of office.

January 1, 2020

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa joined the National Tree Planting Programme aimed at planting 1 million trees under the theme of ‘Hadena Ratata – Wadena Gasak’. President Rajapaksa planting a sapling in the premises of his private residence in Mirihana extended his best wishes for the National Tree Planting Programme.

January 3, 2020

President Rajapaksa makes his Policy Statement at the inauguration of the Fourth Session of the 8th Parliament of Sri Lanka.

January 14, 2020

The Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat. The Minister who started his diplomatic career at the Soviet Embassy in Sri Lanka was delighted with Sri Lanka’s transformation since his time in the Island.

He was also very happy with the fruitful discussion he had with President Rajapaksa. The main focus was on economic development, humanitarian concerns, military cooperation and international relations.

January 17, 2020

Meeting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat, United Nations Resident Coordinator Hanna Singer responded positively to his commitment to sustainable development.

The discussions among other concerns included poverty alleviation, climate control, digitizing government offices, addressing missing persons and better management of refugees.

January 31, 2020

Foreign and European Affairs Minister of the Grand Dutchy of Luxembourg Jean Asselborn paid a courtesy call on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat. The Minister was accompanied with the Delhi based Luxembourg Ambassador Jean Claude Kugener.

February 7, 2020

The newly constructed seven-storey building at Ananda College, Colombo, Sathmahala, was vested with the students by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. It is a historic occasion that the first and only Executive President produced by Ananda College declared open this new building.

March 15, 2020

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa proposed to leaders of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to formulate a collective response to combat COVID – 19. He further called for SAARC Ministerial Meeting to discuss measures to overcome this deadly health threat. President Rajapaksa made these proposals participating in a video conference with all SAARC leaders under the theme of ‘SAARC Leader on Combating COVID – 19, Setting an Example to the World’.

March 17, 2020

The National Operation Center for Prevention of COVID- 19 Outbreak was set up on the directive of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. This Centre, headed by the Army Commander Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, coordinates preventive and management measures to ensure that healthcare and other services.

March 23, 2020

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa set up a special fund to strengthen the mitigation activities aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 virus in the country and related social welfare programmes. The Fund is named “COVID – 19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund”. President Rajapaksa has instructed to donate Rs. 100 million from the President’s Fund for this purpose.

April 1, 2020

President Rajapaksa urged the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) to pursue with the international financial organizations and lending nations to help developing countries adversely affected by COVID- 19 calamity. In a telephone conversation with WHO DG Tedros Adhanom, President Rajapaksa requested him to pursue with the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), President of the World Bank (WB), President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and leaders of the leading bilateral lending nations to provide debt moratorium or debt re-profiling facilities for vulnerable developing countries like Sri Lanka whose economies depend on tourism, exports, remittances and foreign investment in debt and equity markets preventing affected by COVID – 19 pandemic.

April 20, 2020

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ceremonially declared open the first session of the Ninth Parliament and presented the new Government’s Policy Statement.

May 14, 2020

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has surrendered his three-month salary of Rs. 292,500 to the COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund. President Rajapaksa handed over the cheque for this sum to the Secretary to the President, P.B. Jayasundera at the Presidential Secretariat


Ambassador for the Federative Republic of Brazil, Ambassador for the Islamic Republic of Iran and the High Commissioner of the Republic of India, based in Colombo presented their credentials to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo via a video conferencing ceremony. This is the first time in Sri Lanka for this ceremony to be conducted using internet technologies. Instead of postponing the presentation ceremony until the COVID-19 crisis ends, President instructed for the ceremony to proceed as per schedule.

May 22, 2020

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that a Presidential Task Force will be appointed under the Defence Secretary to conduct a comprehensive survey of archaeological sites in the East and to take measures to preserve them. Several parties have voiced their concerns regarding the destruction done to historical monuments. After considering all aspects, a broad programme will be launched with the support of the Department of Archaeology in order to preserve historic sites.

May 24. 2020

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa held a dialogue over the telephone with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, they agreed to further strengthen all aspects of the bilateral relations.

May 25, 2020

A new mechanism was formulated to repatriate Sri Lankans who are stranded or faced with various difficulties in the wake of COVID – 19 pandemic. The programme to bring back Sri Lankans who are undergoing many hardships due to the global spread of the virus commenced in January under the guidance of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Around 33 Sri Lankans including students arrived from Wuhan, China on February 1st. They left for their homes after completing the quarantine process. 839 Sri Lankans pilgrims who were stranded in several cities in India reached home on March 19.

By May 25, a total of 5485 Sri Lankans from 20 different countries were brought back. Out of the total 4826 have been identified by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Sri Lankan missions overseas. Only 5 or 0.01% out of them were found to be infected following diagnosis.

June 12, 2020

An Ombudsman office has been created at the Presidential Secretariat to look into complaints and grievances of the public and provide speedy solutions. Retired Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police S. M. Wickremasinghe has been appointed to the post. The objective of setting up an Ombudsman Office is to provide solutions to any inconvenience or distress caused to the public as a result of the negligence of public officers or acting beyond their limit while exercising their administrative powers.

June 22, 2020

Opportunity is now open to commence productions in many sectors with the limiting of imports of several non-essential items, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said during a discussion with the members of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Industrial and Enterprise Development held at the Presidential Secretariat

September 22, 2020

Sri Lanka is committed to following a neutral foreign policy with no affiliations to any particular country or power bloc, President reiterated at the annual session of the General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York using video conferencing technology. This year’s General Session was held under the theme of “The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming Our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism”.

September 23, 2020

After a lapse of 28 years, the Export Development Council (EDC) was convened under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The Export Development Council was set up under the Export Development Act in 1979 to resolve prevailing issues in the export sector by strengthening exporters. The Council is entrusted with the responsibility of policy formulation and issue approvals and recommendations.

September 25, 2020

In a bid to witnesses himself the difficulties suffered by fellow citizens first hand and to listen to them to relieve them of their burdens with a correct understanding, President Rajapaksa decided to tour rural areas. The Haldummulle Divisional Secretariat Division of the Badulla district was selected for the first inspection tour.

September 30, 2020

The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to protecting and sustainably manage natural resources, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said addressing the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity. The Summit highlighted the crisis facing humanity from the degradation of biodiversity and the urgent need to accelerate action on biodiversity for sustainable development.

October 19, 2020

Handing over letters of appointment to the trainees selected from families of the lowest income category in the society under the programme to recruit 100,000 individuals for employment commenced. 34,818 have been selected under the first phase.

Appointees will receive a six-month formal training in 25 identified areas according to their skills and preferences. National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority will oversee the training programme. Those who complete the training will be awarded an NVQ III certificate. During the training period, trainees will receive a monthly allowance of Rs. 22,500.

October 22, 2020

The 20th Amendment (20A) to the Constitution of Sri Lanka was passed by the 225-member Sri Lankan Parliament with 156 voting in favour, 65 against and four abstained.

October 23, 2020

Renovation of Mihindu Maha Seya, Mihindu Len Senasuna and Shrine House at the historic Mihintale Sacred site began under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

October 23 marks the 2280th Mihindu Pura Atawaka Poya which commemorates the day Arahant Mahinda’s passing away.

October 28, 2020

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to discuss economic partnership based on transparent trade and investment, key components of the post-pandemic economic recovery – as well as a shared commitment to democratic freedoms.

November 4, 2020

The ‘Stay Safe’ digital device designed under the guidance of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) to contain the spread of COVID – 19 pandemic was introduced under the supervision of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Tracing close associates of COVID infected and the movements of the disease carriers are the two major challenges in preventing the spread of the virus. The “Stay Safe” project has been designed as a solution to these two problems.