Interview: State enterprise strategic plan in progress, management skill the biggest issue, says Eran

Eran-Wickramaratne-5

Nov 11, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is in the process of making plans to restructure the state owned enterprises and boosting management skill levels, Deputy Minister of State Owned Enterprises Eran Wickramaratne told LBO in an exclusive interview.

“We have lots of plans and we are right at the beginning. We are in the process of creating the principles,” Wickramaratne said.

“As it goes forward it will be different for institution to institution. Because institutions vary a lot. You can’t do the same as what you do for an airline in a plantation company or in the banking sector,” he said.

“We have studies going on and then we will give policy direction based on those, and companies will make the decisions accordingly,” he said.

State enterprises are defined as legal entities that undertake commercial activities on behalf of an owner government.

However these institutions are criticized often for laid back services and loss making processes.

Experts say there has been no progress in halting losses incurred by the SOEs, especially the larger corporations such as the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and Sri Lankan Airlines.

Wickramaratne said managerial skill gap is one of the biggest issues in the state enterprises that holds back growth.

Bridging this will help the efficiency level of the state employee to move up and to turn around the loss making processs.

“If you look at the required skill level to take it to the new business plan, you will find that there are management gaps in most state institutions,” Wickramaratne said.

“We are open to fill those gaps by bring in those required skills from outside,” he said.

There is no one method but many such as hiring new people, hiring new services, outsourcing certain functions.

“The biggest hesitance with the public enterprises is up scaling it to modern management due to the skill gap,” he said.

“The moment you fix the management, the second issue is technology and capital. Then that management knows how to fix it, will measure efficiency per employee or measure efficiency per unit of capital employed.”

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Sugath
Sugath
6 years ago

Almost 5% of this government’s term of office has lapsed and
some Government institutions still don’t have heads/ boards appointed. There
seems to be no urgency or drive – or at least thats what the general feeling is.

It’s time that they started action – too much energy wasted
on talk and digging garbage of the past.

Carins
Carins
6 years ago

Don’t expect the state enterprise heads to do anything other than follow procedures while the FCID is functional. Doing unconventional things have been equaled to corruption lately and the consequences will be in billions.

rich list
rich list
6 years ago

What is needed is a zero-based approach (neutron bomb). but this will not happen because of the unions. You cannot train the current management to modern management. So expect more red ink. Agree with other writers new government has no sense of urgency. they are just playing the usual political games

Anusha
Anusha
6 years ago

Government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem. Management do not feel ownership in public enterprises, they will take a short term view to please the top. There will not less innovation, less technology advancement with that of similiar industries in the pvt sector. Further management in public enterprise structurally can not take risks because they have live in the system(there is no direct ownership like in pvt)/ nobody individually accountable for public money. May be Govt-Pvt partnership like SLT or split in to number of Pvt companies like Dialog, Mobitel,Airtel etc

gundasa
gundasa
6 years ago

dreaming sweet working dull

guest
guest
6 years ago

Nothing has been changed in the government sector. What restructure ?? all workers are sill laid back and doing nothing but get paid timely from tax payers money.

Nirmalan Dhas
Nirmalan Dhas
6 years ago

I have requested both the president as well as the prime minister to set up a national institute for organization development and design. I hope that they understand what it can do and that both Japan and South Korea benefitted from similar mechanisms. The chances however seem slim.

Tilak
Tilak
6 years ago

Correct management is a common problem all over the globe.Good managers .need to be found with grate difficulty.In government it will be more difficult since by using circulars the real person could be discouraged on the ground of say salary,age, ect ect.ect.

Samantha
Samantha
6 years ago

State can not run commercial activities like private players because when everybody(Public) owns something means nobody owns it. State Owned Enterprises will poorly run and maintened. There will not be continuity & risk taking etc. It is more about pleasing. Need to tax people to run those Enterprises in the similar fashion !!!!!