Sri Lanka to raise USD 1Bn by listing SOEs: Finance Minister

Ravi

Mar 16, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s government plans to raise one billion US dollars by listing non-strategic enterprises on the capital market this year, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

“Our target is to roughly raise one billion US dollars from listing non-strategic enterprises,” the minister told reporters in Colombo Wednesday.

“We are not in a hurry to do it, we only want to show that our intent is correct.”

In the 2017 budget proposals several state-owned enterprises were named such as Mobitel, Hyatt, Waters Edge, Grand Oriental Hotel slated to be listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange.

Karunanayake, however, stressed that the government will not give up controlling rights of the non-strategic enterprises especially SriLankan airlines.

“We are only commercializing these institutions and not privatizing them.”

“The Government has taken a firm policy decision where the President and Prime Minister are very particular about this. We have made a policy decision that we will keep a 51 percent stake in SriLankan airlines.”

He was speaking prior to signing Statements of Corporate Intent with five large SOEs: Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), National Water Supply and Drainage Board (NWS & DB), Airport and Aviation Services (SL) Ltd. (AASL) and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

“We are doing this to encourage and facilitate the SOEs and it is aimed at improving efficiency to achieve the country’s economic goals by enhancing the contribution made to GDP.”

We want to improve operational and financial efficiency through improved corporate practices, innovative financing, strong and prudent financial management, exposure to competitiveness and international best practices and effective human resource management while enhancing public accountability.”

When queried about meeting the net interest revenue (NIR) targets set out by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), he said that except NIR, all targets will be met by the end of June.

“We will get this also rectified. I believe that the reserves will come back.”

The IMF in its latest evaluation had warned of declining reserves as Sri Lanka prepares to repay 2.6 billion dollars in debt this year.