Sri Lanka clarifies reports on McKenzie consultancy

Aug 25, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s National Policy and Economic Affairs Ministry has clarified certain newspaper reports saying they were aimed at sabotaging the economic development strategy of the government.

Releasing a statement the ministry said negative reports have appeared in the newspapers on the engagement of internationally reputed consultancy firms by the Government.

The statement says the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management decided to engage the services of Mr Yuvanjan Wijeyatilake, former Attorney General, to draft new laws and to revise existing laws relating to the proposed Financial City.

“The services of Baker and McKenzie have been retained to advise the Government in the regard to the legal implications of the different financial models like Ireland, UK, Channel Islands, Dubai and Hong Kong.”

“The firm is also advising the Government on the Indonesian tax laws and other similar laws. They have not been assigned any other work.”

The ministry has rejected media reports of the law firm having offices in Colombo and practicing in Sri Lanka.

“This task will be handled by Baker & McKenzie office in Hong Kong and they are not entitled to practice here under the Rules of the Supreme Court.”

The statement added that the government’s project with Management Consultancy firm McKinsey and Company is only to assist in setting up of the Central Programme Management Unit in Colombo and has no connection with Baker & McKenzie law firm.

Government is to establish a Central Programme Management Unit based on the PEMANDU (Performance and Management Delivery Unit) in the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office.

The statement further stated that the government is having discussions with all legally recognized professional associations, business associations and trade unions with regard to the ETCA and no one has boycotted or left discussions.

“The news reports that Revenue proposals have been dropped from the National Development Plan is also false,”

“The Government is negotiating with India, China and Singapore to enter into economic and trade agreements.”

The statement said the government will also hold discussions on FTAs with Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand next year and discuss an Economic Cooperation programme with Japan.

The Government’s policy is to make Sri Lanka the Hub of the Indian Ocean and seek to exploit the synergies of the Indian Act East Policy for the region and the Chinese One-Belt One-Road initiative, the statement further said.

Press Release - August 24th _2016 (English)