Sri Lanka seen needing big investments to lift estate living standards

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

Feb 17, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s plantations still need huge investments to upgrade the living standards of workers, some of which would have to come from buyers through higher prices, an official said. In recent years investments had been made in housing, roads, water and sanitation, child development and nutrition by plantations companies with support from foreign aid agencies.

The total housing stock required on regional plantation company estates was around 238,000 units.

“We’ve only touched the tip of the ice berg of 24,000 houses built so far,” he said. “We’ve built about 10 percent of the requirement. There’s still 90 percent to be addressed.”

The companies had completed 55 percent of the water supply requirement. “We still have another 45 percent to go.”

Dan Seevaratnam, chief executive of Watawala Plantations, said investments made so far had led to significant improvements in living standards, resulting in markedly better social indicators.

The plantations sector has long had some of the worst social indicators in the country, with above average child and maternal mortality rates and low nutrition levels.

Total investment in construction activity on estates of list