SJB Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne assured that main opposition was ready with plan and strategies to implement projects for the wellbeing of the people no sooner it comes to office after an elections due shortly.
People of this country are eagerly awaiting to oust this government which has no mandate or even proper plan to implement for the country.
Speaking at a media conference held at the office of the Leader of Opposition recently he said that SJB opposes the sale or privatization of the strategically important SoEs such as CEB and Petroleum Corporation but insists that the monopoly now enjoyed by such SoEs be brought to an end with private sector participation on a competitive market system.
The reason for it is, so far attention was paid to make sure the employees’ interest, but no government paid its attention to consumer interests.
People do complain that even if there is a surplus of employees in government institutions, they cannot get a service done without paying bribes.
We cannot simply reject this allegations as there is no smoke without fire. Most of the SoE s are inefficient and loss making. Now the government has been talking of restructuring them.
“SJB is for restructuring of SoE. But what is the philosophy for it. If an State organization is involved in manufacturing goods and service priority should be given to provide quality goods with an efficient and competitive atmosphere to the consumers. Second priority is to protect the rights of employees. Restructuring should be made under a transparent process.”
He also mentioned that amongst several Expressways that were constructed in the country except one all other projects have been awarded without following proper procurement process of competitive bidding process to known persons or companies.
Under this context, the people of this country have a suspicions of the actions of this government as it has handled major development projects not for the country but to kickback.
In the recent past the present government has had discussion with a US firm to bring in investment on energy sector. But it appeared to be a mysterious deal as no transparency seen in the transaction.
When we take Srilankan airline it losses runs to more than 400 billions of rupees. People of this country maintain this loss making airline with their direct and indirect tax money.
Srilankan airlines has under its wing two other sectors that are making profit. Now plans are afoot to privatize those two profit making organization namely ground handling and Srilankan catering services leaving behind the airline to make further making loss.
In 2019 a report was prepared as to how the Srilankan airline should be restructured. President’s expert committee on restructuring Sri Lankan Airline headed by Eran Wickramaratne that included Dr. Harsha de Silva and the present CBSL Governor Dr. Nadalal Weerasinghe and few others, recommended that the two other entities that are making profits be made a joint corporate bodies of the Srilankna Airline in order to minimize
the losses incurred by the Airline.
But, the MP said that SJB opposes any effort on the part of this government to split the organization into three and selling off the two profit making
institutions separately, making the Srilankna airline incur further losses.
Referring to a recent speech of the President in Parliament, he said that President implied that if the stock market is to be closed, it could be liquidated. Country’s Head of State should not make such a statement even for a humour.
After the statement of the President, Nestlé has decided to withdraw from the stock market after 40 years of investment.
At a time when the investments of other foreign companies should be attracted to the stock market and FDI, if foreign companies withdraw because of such statements, Eran Wickramaratne asked whether this government does not need any foreign investments in this country or is it a ploy to bring in foreign selected investment that would benefit individuals
The SJB maintains that the SLPP government now in power awards projects to known persons and companies without following due process and that people perceive this as a method of obtaining kickbacks.
It claims that if it is voted into power it will also:
1. Implement projects
2. Continue with State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s)
This amounts to a promise of “more of the same” and undoubtedly this is a promise that all those supporters of the current SLPP government who have benefited and continue to benefit from this “project-based method of obtaining kickbacks” that the SJP describes will be very happy to hear.
Apparently under an SJB led government SOE’s will continue to play their role as employment banks for party supporters and as a system of channels through which funds can flow from the national budget to these enterprises and through thousands of “sweetheart deals” made with them to the hordes of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMI’s) that feed on this stream and provide more employment to political sympathizers, generating a pseudo economy and illusion of “development” and growth. This will be of great comfort to the banking sector that is cushioned by lending to the government to meet its budgetary requirements.
While this potent brew of project owners, SOE’s, SME’s and bankers may place their votes and wallets at the service of whoever supports this program it is not clear how the SJB proposes to continue to sustain this pseudo economy generated by kickbacks and SOE’s and the SME’s that feed off them while conforming to the macro economic framework painstakingly developed by the Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, in response to the bankrupting of the national economy by this very same project and SOE based pseudo economy, it may be assumed that it rejects this framework and the effort that has gone into constructing it.
It maybe wise to examine the probable outcomes of such a rejection before embarking on this project to continue with more of the same rather than opt for change.