Sri Lanka appoints new committee to examine plantation leases

June 18, 2007 (LBO) – The government is setting up a new committee to examine the long-term leases of estate lands to the privatized plantations firms, a senior government minister said. Sri Lanka has privatized former government held estates through long-term leases given to more than 20 plantations companies.

Cabinet Spokesman Anura Yapa said a new committee would be appointed to re-examine and re-negotiate the leases after a previous one became dysfunctional with the resignation of some members.

Members, Attorney General K P Kamalasabesan and W M Bandusena, the chairman of the Public Enterprise Reforms Commission (PERC), have now retired, but new members could not be put in their place because they were appointed by name, he said.

Minister of plantation industries D M Jayaratne has recommended that the secretary to the finance ministry, the secretary of plantation ministry, the attorney general and the chairman of PERC be named by their designation instead of by name, so that the work of the committee would not be disrupted in the future, Yapa said.

The issue of management fees would also be taken up by the committee as well as sub-leasing of lands.

Yapa said