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“All SOEs under holding company”

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 SLT should be privatized for betterment of people

Govt should create better environment to attract investors

Head of State owned Enterprises (SOE) Suresh Shah highlighted that among 130 SOE’s in the country 17 are non- operational but the boards of directors are still working in them!!

He said that enhancing efficiency of state owned enterprises is immensely important considering the country’s current economic situation and said that Sri Lanka Telecom should be definitely privatized for the betterment of people in the country.

He made these observations at a seminar on “Enhancing Efficiency of State Owned Enterprises” (SOE), organized by the Organization of Professional Association of Sri Lanka (OPA) attended by a large number of professionals by representing their respective fields.

Responding to the media he said not only Sri Lanka Telecom but also some major parts of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) should also be privatized to enhance its services being provided to people in the country. “Even the CPC should also be privatized for the sake of people who need a better service.”

Shah also focused attention towards the appointments to state boards and said all appointments for Boards must be done through the constitutional council.  “Politicians should not get involved in appointments.”

In addition, approximately 85 institutions were identified as being suitable for divestment. Among the challenges that had been identified by the SOE Restructuring Unit were subsidies, the appointment of unsuitable directors, overstaffing, and circular debt.

Consequently, they had come up with a number of recommendations that included divestment of loss-making or non-strategic SOEs, bringing all enterprises under the Finance Ministry, while making them limited liability companies. He underscored the importance of not ‘parking’ subsidies with State banks. He also said the government should create a better environment to attract investors to the country and said Singapore is a fine example of this.

Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance Mahinda Siriwardena highlighted that state owned enterprises have both positive and negative impacts on the economy. The government was also implementing institutional reforms to improve the balance sheets of these enterprises. He said that another key reform was bringing all SOEs under the control of a holding company.

Siriwardana also noted that strict regulations would be brought regarding the appointment of directors. He said reducing the losses of some SOE’s are the priority of the Government and strict regulations will be brought in future when appointing directors, chairmen etc.


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