Sri Lanka state officials occupy sugar firm: listed company

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

Feb 20, 2012 (LBO) – State officials are occupying land of a listed Sri Lankan company, the parent firm of Pelwatte Sugar Industries told shareholders, despite it falling the outside the definition of a controversial law to expropriate citizens’ property. Citizens then had to pay taxes, but did not have property rights either, leading to economic stagnation and lagging behind other nations. In recent years socialist states in Asia have reversed collectivization and started to re-establish citizens’ property rights.

Vietnam for example has established a system of land use certificates, which helped not only set the stage for industrialization with investment by foreign citizens, but which has also created an agricultural and inland fisheries productivity boom in rural areas.

Economic analysts say what Sri Lanka’s rulers now call ‘state land’ is mostly ‘Crown land’ of the British colonial period.

Sri Lanka started violating property rights of citizens and non-citizens after independence from British rule. The 2011 expropriation law was passed in parliament despite the existence of a constitutional guarantee against violation of property rights.

Land leased to Pelwatte Sugar Industries (PSI) Plc, a unit of Distilleries Corporation of Sri La