The Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security has recommended not to privatise Sri Lanka Telecom as it could pose a threat to national security.
The report “The effects of the privatization of Sri Lanka Telecom on National Security” submitted to Parliament stated that SLT is already partially privatized with international companies holding 44.98% of the stake and the government holding 49.5% and hence further privatization would expose the country’s critical communication infrastructure / sensitive information to private entities whose profit-oriented interests can compromise national security.
The report also said that anyone or organization who had been blacklisted, helped terrorists, extremists in any form should not be allowed to buy any share and have any control over the country’s national assets.
The Committee proposes that the state can buy back the other large shareholder of Telecom as provided for in the agreement, divide the segments into sensitive & vulnerable, excess lands & buildings, critical infrastructure and the business.
“Whilst retaining the first segments effecting National Security, the state can divest the others holding a major share through Private Public Partnership ensuring critical infrastructure is protected and all government regulations are adhered to. This way the government can exit from doing business whilst making profit and ensuring National Security, the committee recommended. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)