Sri Lanka in attempt to better manage smaller state firms

Apr 24, 2010 (LBO) – A new ministry has been created with about 20 mostly loss making state enterprises, in a bid to make them more profitable and less of a burden on the people, officials said.

Published data on state enterprises are not easily available. According to data in a report issued by the Central Bank seven state institutions made losses of more than 49 billion rupees, which is over one percent of gross domestic product.

P Dayaratne, one of 37 ministers appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa this week, will head the ministry of state resources and entrepreneurial development which will oversee the former strategic enterprise management agency (SEMA).

The SEMA was created as an alternative to privatizing state enterprises but many strategic loss-making enterprises including energy and transport utilities were under separate ministers in the last 100 plus minister cabinet.

SEMA has instead been trying hard to turn around smaller non-strategic institutions including several state plantations.

The agency would be re-named and around 20 state enterprises would come under it.

These would include four state plantation firms and LakSalusala, a textile trading f