Sri Lanka state sector asked to generate revenue for national economy: PM

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Dec 03, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s state-owned enterprises have to perform better towards contributing to the national economy, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“Our first focus is on the state enterprise and we will ensure that there is better performance in the state enterprises in the coming few years,” he said.

“We are keeping the 2020 deficit target so that the state enterprises have to make a contribution to the national economy and to the state revenue.”

Sri Lanka wants to reduce the budget deficit to 3.5 percent of gross national production in the medium term by 2020.

The new administration made a public sector salary increment in its mini budget 2015 to win the public sector votes and experts say more taxes have been charged from the people to pay state workers in the budget for 2016.

Sri Lanka’s state sector workers has been criticised often due to their inefficient work methods.

Also the loss making nature of key SOEs has created immense pressure not only on the national budget but also on the entire financial system of the country.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said in his budget speech that “an inability to bring in innovative measures to combat the incidence could be termed as a dangerous trend.“

Hence, there is a strong necessity for the introduction of corrective measures on a priority basis to make them commercially viable enterprises rather than being loss making enterprises.

The government said they have already initiated measures to address this malady.

“The creation of the innovative Ministry of Public Enterprise Development is a key step forward in this regard,” Karunanayake said.

“What we are focused on is to restructure the management model of SOEs, introduce market based pricing mechanisms in public utilities on a selective basis, rationalize recruitment while adopting measures to improve productivity of the existing workforce, and explore avenues to improve efficiency of SOEs including through the public private partnership.”

In the budget for 2016, the government said it will exit partially or fully from those non-strategic investments in Lanka Hospitals, Hotel Developers PLC (Colombo Hilton), Hyatt Residencies, Waters Edge, Grand Oriental Hotel, Ceylinco Hospital and Mobitel by listing such investments in the Colombo Stock Exchange during 2016.

The monies generated through such listings will be used to retire high cost debt accrued by the Rajapaksa regime.