Tuesday, 9 May 2023 01:23 –      – 107


SJB Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne on Sunday said the party was opposed to selling strategically important State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) but stressed monopolies must be ended.“We oppose the sale of the strategically important SOEs such as CEB and Petroleum Corporation but insist that the monopoly now enjoyed by such SOEs be brought to an end with private sector participation on a competitive market system. The reason for it is, so far attention was paid to ensure the employees’ interest but no government paid its attention to consumer interests,” Wickramaratne told journalists.

He said people do complain that even if there is a surplus of employees in government institutions, they cannot get a service done without paying bribes. We cannot simply reject these allegations as there is no smoke without fire. Most of the SOEs are inefficient and loss making. Now the Government has been talking of restructuring them.

“SJB is for restructuring of SOEs. But what is the philosophy for it? If a State organisation is involved in manufacturing goods and service priority should be given to provide quality goods with an efficient and competitive atmosphere to the consumers. Second priority is to protect the rights of employees. Restructuring should be made under a transparent process,” SJB MP said.

He also mentioned that amongst several expressways that were constructed in the country except one all other projects have been awarded without following proper procurement process or competitive bidding process to known persons or companies. Under this context, the people of this country have suspicions of the actions of this Government as it has handled major development projects not for the country but to kickback.

In the recent past the present Government has had discussions with a US firm to bring in investment in the energy sector. But it appeared to be a mysterious deal as no transparency was seen in the transaction.

“When we take SriLankan Airlines it losses run to over Rs. 400 billion. People of this country maintain this loss making airline with their direct and indirect tax money. SriLankan Airlines has under its wing two other sectors that are making profit. Now plans are afoot to privatise those two profit making organisations namely ground handling and SriLankan Catering Services leaving behind the airline to make further loss,” Wickramaratne said.

He recalled that in 2019 a report was prepared as to how the SriLankan Airline should be restructured by the President’s expert committee headed by Wickremaratne and included Dr. Harsha de Silva and the present CBSL Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe and a few others. It recommended that the two other entities that are making profits be made joint corporate bodies of the SriLankan Airlines in order to minimise the losses incurred by the airline.

But, the MP said that SJB opposed any effort on the part of this Government to split the organisation into three and sell off the two profit making institutions separately, making the SriLankan Airlines incur further losses. Wickramaratne also said SJB was ready with plans and strategies to implement projects for the wellbeing of the people no sooner it came to office after an election due shortly. People of this country are eagerly awaiting to oust this Government which has no mandate or even proper plan to implement for the country.



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