Sri Lanka land sales should be transparent: lawmaker

Aug 20, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state land sales to private developers must be transparent and all available land must be listed online to boost investor confidence, instead being sold through unsolicited deals, a lawmaker has said. Sri Lanka main opposition United National Party member Harsha de Silva says such deals will harm overall investor confidence.

“While the UNP welcomes foreign investments in to Sri Lanka we are completely opposed to this rapidly spreading procedure of handing out parcels of prime land on unsolicited and completely non-transparent deals,” de Silva said in a statement.

“These types of closed-door deals where the country is informed by an announcement after all agreements have been finalized do not augur well for investor confidence nor do they promote good governance, something sorely lacking in the post-war development phase.”

“In fact these transactions shrouded in secrecy only create perceptions of corruption even if they are clean.”

De Silva says pointing to crooked deals by past regimes is not an answer. “Sales or long leases of state land must be conducted on a fair manner by calling for open tenders on a transparent basis,” he said.

“To say it was done by a previous regime s