Sri Lanka business wants action on loss-making state entities

July 21, 2010 (LBO) – The head of Sri Lanka’s top business chamber has called for loss-making state entities which are a drain on public finances to be turned around within a strict time frame or more radical alternatives considered. Ceylon Chamber of Commerce chairman Anura Ekanayake said recent reductions in inflation and interest rates and improving business confidence were reasons for optimism after the island’s 30-year ethnic war ended in May 2009.

But, he told the chamber’s 171st annual general meeting that the chronic deficits Sri Lanka has suffered for many decades, being the trade deficit and the budget deficit, are cause for concern.

The policy framework articulated in the government’s latest budget shows the government is well aware of these issues and is determined to address them, he said.

“We earnestly hope that the government will be able to steadfastly adhere to this framework even if some of them may not be popular in the short term.”

Ekanayake said that while the government had shown it supported the private sector, quick action was needed to turn around loss-making state corporations which were a drain on public finances.

“The government has given many clear indications of recognising the