Sri Lanka govt defends nationalisation bid

November 3, 2011 (AFP) – Sri Lanka on Thursday defended a controversial move to nationalise “under-performing” private companies and rejected allegations that the move was politically motivated. Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the proposed legislation was aimed at improving productivity in companies that received tax and other concessions but were plagued with mismanagement and inefficiency.

President Mahinda Rajapakse’s government is set to introduce the “Revival of Under-performing Enterprises and Under-utilised Assets Act” next week in parliament where his party commands a two-thirds majority.

Rambukwella denied charges that the bill was aimed at taking over the businesses of those who finance the country’s opposition.

“We are not targeting any individuals, but what we hope to achieve is a people-friendly management that will fully utilise the assets,” Rambukwella told reporters in Colombo.

He rejected opposition claims that the proposed nationalisation would be a blow to the country’s prospects of attracting much-needed foreign investments.

“When they see that we are putting in place systems to ensure better management, they should be encouraged to c