Govt. likely to forge ahead with SLT privatisation despite concerns
Saturday, 10 June 2023 00:48 – – 56
Govt. says committee recommendation to halt efforts due to national security threats lacks logical and scientific data analysis
Says deep analysis is needed on operations, regulations of information, financial data and other factors
Assures policy decision taken will not compromise national security
The Government yesterday unveiled its intentions to press forward with the restructuring of Sri Lanka Telecom, disregarding the opposing recommendation put forward by the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security.
The committee headed by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Sarath Weerasekara yesterday informed Parliament that divestment of the State’s stake in SLT could “expose the country’s strategic communication infrastructure and sensitive information to private companies that are motivated by profit, which could pose a threat to national security”. It also proposed the Government retain the right to repurchase shares held by the majority shareholder of SLT, Usaha Tegas Sdn Bhd with a 44.9% stake in the company.
However, issuing a statement the President’s Media Division (PMD) said though the Government acknowledges the factual content of the report, it believes that it lacks a logical or scientific data analysis pertaining to the subject matter, in an indication of its intention to continue with the process.
“To address this deficiency, it is necessary to examine the operation and regulation of information and communication technology service providers in Sri Lanka, analyse financial data related to the sector, understand Sri Lanka’s national ambitions in this field, assess the available capital capacity, and conduct a comprehensive study of global trends,” the PMD release said.
The Government said it will also assure that the policy decision taken will not compromise national security, contrary to what is indicated in the report.
“Hence, the Government will take a final decision during an upcoming Cabinet meeting, considering this report along with recommendations from the information and communication sector. Additionally, the President emphasises that the current Government’s policy is focused on providing opportunities to the private sector, distancing it from direct Government involvement,” it added. Government sources said that it is likely the restructuring will go ahead as planned.