Daft Draft

July 24, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s draft national transport policy came in for strong criticism at a public forum by experts who said it ignored important modes of private transport and private sector investment. Rohan Samarajiva, head of LirneAsia, a regional think tank, said the policy was also silent on opportunities in rebuilding transport infrastructure and services in the north and east, where much of it was destroyed by the ethnic war.

The draft policy appeared to perpetuate existing inefficiencies, poor service and waste of public funds, he said, adding that policymakers would be daft to implement it in its present form.

“The national transport policy does not allow for adequate private participation,” Samarajiva told the forum organised by the Pathfinder Foundation, a research and advocacy institute in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport.

“The document seems extremely government-centric.”

He criticised the draft policy’s provisions for government intervention in areas where it said the private sector might be reluctant to invest.

“There’s already a lot of private investment in transport,” he said, noting the rapid growth of private bus s