Sri Lanka seized assets re-offered to private managers: minister

Nov 17, 2010 (LBO) – Former owners of expropriated assets may be given a chance to manage the companies again if a competent authority appointed by the state finds them acceptable, a minister said. Cabinet spokesman and information minister Keheliya Rambukwelle said the government will shortly appoint competent authorities to the seized firms and they will be given back to the private managers.

Earlier owners of the assets will be given first refusal, he said.

Minister Rambukwelle said if the competent authority finds the proposals acceptable, management will be offered and not ownership.

The secretly hatched law, pushed to parliament as an ‘urgent bill’ expropriated land in three dozen firms and ordinary shares in one company on the basis that the assets and the enterprise were ‘underutilized’ or ‘underperforming’.

Last year’s budget warned that ‘unutilized land’ in plantations companies will be expropriated and distributed.

The minister said there were no plans to expropriate plantations companies, several of which are now reporting heavy losses.

The president’s office said in a statemetn that there will be no more asset seizures.

Sri Lanka’s central bank al