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Thu, 18 December 2014 11:17:39
Sri Lanka business chambers endorse expropriation bill
05 Nov, 2011 19:05:02
Oct 05, 2011 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's large business chambers have tacitly endorsed a draft law to expropriate assets of several businesses on a promise that it will never be done again, according to a statement.
The business chambers said they have been assured that it will be a "one off bill" and the expropriated assets of some of their fellow men would be given back to the "private sector", following a meeting with Sri Lanka's president and senior ministers.

At stake are 37 enterprises many of which are defunct but also included are two functioning sugar firms, one of which is listed.

The owners of the assets would be given an opportunity "opportunity to submit proposals to the government to revive their respective enterprises or assets," after they are taken over.

In a revised statement the chambers said they also requested that some companies be removed from the bill and informed the president of the "impact of the proposed bill."

The business chambers initially said they will "remain engaged with the government to ensure that the assurances are met."

However the second statement the chamber made no mention of an earlier assurance that the chambers will ensure that the state keeps its promises and simply said that they will remain engaged.

The Revised statement is reproduced below:

The business chamber representatives from the Federations of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), National Chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), National Chamber of Exporters (NCE), Chamber Of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE), Joint Appeal Association Forum (JAFF), Free Trade Zone Manufactures Association (FTZMA) and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) had discussions with HE the President on 5th of November.

HE the President was joined by senior cabinet ministers and senior government officials associated with the subject of economic development. At this meeting the chambers appraised the President of the impact of the proposed bill and requested that some companies be removed from the schedule.

The chambers were given the following assurances;

1. That this is a one off bill
2. The intention of this one off bill is purely to revive the 37 underperforming enterprises and underutilized assets listed in schedules 1 and 2.
3. The government proposes to revive these enterprises or assets through the private sector.
4. The present holders of these enterprises or assets will be given the opportunity to submit proposals to the government to revive their respective enterprises or assets.

The business chambers will continue to remain engaged with the government on the proposed bill.

Original statement:

The business chamber representatives from the Federations of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), National Chambers of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), National Chamber of Exporters (NCE), Chamber Of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE), Joint Appeal Association Forum (JAFF), Free Trade Zone Manufactures Association (FTZMA) and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) had discussions with HE the President on 5th of November.

HE the President was joined by senior cabinet ministers and senior government officials associated with the subject of economic development.

At this meeting the chambers were given the following assurances;

1. That this is a one off bill
2. The intention of this one off bill is purely to revive the 37 underperforming enterprises and underutilized assets listed in schedules 1 and 2.
3. The government proposes to revive these enterprises or assets through the private sector.
4. The present holders of these enterprises or assets will be given the opportunity to submit proposals to the government to revive their respective enterprises or assets.

The business chambers will continue to remain engaged with the government to ensure that the assurances are met.

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READER COMMENT(S)
11. Susanth pereira Nov 07
Chambers own an explanation to their membership and general public, why they failed to lodge a protest openly. Is it because Gamage is a typical elitist CCC member?
10. Reality Nov 07
The reality is no matter how much anyone opposes it on forums like these no one has the guts to stand up to the government.

We'll all just blame the chamber for folding and keep complaining about how outrageous this is while it happens under our noses and the next thing you know there'll be something else to scream about.

A very clear pattern ever since this government came into power.

9. Ranjit Jayasuriya Nov 07
It appears that the Chambers have failed to understand the full implications of this bill.

The bill is contradictory to existing law. The laws affected include laws of contract, property rights, mortgages and insolvency. Certain precedents are being set by this law, the courts may interpret future cases concerning the above laws differently. Consider the following:

First, the bill effectively invalidates contacts entered into by companies to acquire property, if the property is 'underutilsed'. Could a person, who sold land to someone else, who has failed to utilise this land, for whatever reason have cause to appeal to the State to invalidate the contract, because it is in the national interest?

A person will only buy property provided he is certain that he will enjoy security of title. This bill effectively repudiates title, if the asset is deemed to be underutilised. Who will be willing to invest under these circumstances? Property rights and the rights of contract are the cornerstone of free enterprise. This bill attacks the fundamentals on which business is conducted.

Businessmen already know that the legal system is kaput and little relief can be expected from that quarter, in the event of disputes. Now even the very foundations of business are under attack.

8. shehan Nov 06
Only the president's astrologer knows where the country is heading...
7. Patriot 2 Nov 06
Mr President, you do want to be remembered in the annals of history as the most business unfriendly leader, even by passing Sirimavo Bandaranaike?
6. ara Nov 06
Simple question, if u take pelwatte sugar,who has a better chance of reviving the compnay, distelleries lead by harry j or the government, this is a joke
5. aj Nov 05
Spineless nincompoops.
4. SIRI Nov 05
Antonym of courage:

cowardice......
cowardliness.......

3. Shame Nov 05
This must be the only chamber in the world to have supported nationalization. Surely a world's first. Miracle of Asia.

So provided some companies are dropped off it is ok?

2. The Patriot Nov 05
Are you "xxx kidding me?
First they'll come for your business.
And then for our homes and lands and then to our bank accounts?
Where is the limit?
And what about all the government owned companies that are losing money?
Profit and loss is part of business.
I could understand if the government is intervening for a bankruptcy of a company to save jobs and livelihoods of their fellow citizens.
But to take over private enterprise simply because they are not performing well and taking over functioning public traded companies ????????
And what is the threshold?
How poor does my company have to perform for you to take it over Mr. President?
I have seen some serious bullshit over the years this tops it all.
And to all the folks at Sri Lanka business chambers as my 15 year old described “they are going to take these companies get money from the private sector and run those to the ground and pocket what they can, aren’t they daddy?”; so wake the "xxxx" up!!!!
Have some balls, speak the truth!!!!’

Mr. President we admire you immensely for what you did for our country, for ending the war.
But please let us invest and build this economy (by not doing crazy things like this).
Surround yourself not only with people that agree with you all the time but also people with a different point of view and who can respectfully disagree with you, people with good harts and ones that have Country’s best interest in mind.
And please don’t let biggest admires of you (like me) slip away.
Because when we let go we won’t come back.

1. Soon to be ex-member of CCC Nov 05
With Chambers like these, who needs enemies? By saying the following: “The intention of this one off bill is purely to revive the 37 underperforming enterprises and underutilized assets listed in schedules 1 and 2.," the Chambers have accepted that the 37 targeted entities in fact are "under performing"and “under utilised.”

I like to know from the bright sparks at the respective Chambers the criteria they used to arrive at this decision and concur with the government. How many members of the respective chambers fall within their own classification of "under performing." It is clearly a case of the Chambers not having the courage or the conviction to do justice by their own members. They richly deserve the government they have got.