GL: Govt. pressing for privatisation of key ventures ahead of presidential election



Prof. G.L.

Dissident SLPP MP Prof. G.L. Peiris yesterday (22) alleged that the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government was pressing for the privatisation of key state ventures ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

In terms of the Constitution, the EC is empowered to make the relevant announcement on or after July 17.

Addressing the media at his Kirula Road residence, the former External Affairs Minister, now aligned with the SJB, said the President Wickremesinghe-led administration was bent on implementing a controversial privatisation project, regardless of consequences.

Questioning the rationale behind the privatisation of profit-making public sector ventures, Prof. Peiris expressed concern over private sector take-over of cash cows, such as Sri Lanka Telecom and Sri Lanka Insurance.

Opposing the privatisation of state-owned banks, Prof. Peiris said that all corrupt deals would be investigated under a future government of theirs.

The former Minister claimed that the government was under heavy IMF pressure to curb waste, corruption, irregularities and mismanagement as precondition to secure the third tranche of the USD 2.9 bn bailout package spread over of a period of four years.

 Referring to humiliating declaration made by Marie Antonia von Schönburg, Chief Delegate of the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka that Sri Lanka couldn’t attract German investment for want of efficient measures to tackle corruption, Prof. Peiris said that instead of addressing investors’ concerns the government was engaged in such activities like selling the family silver.

Commenting on the ongoing dialogue between the government and the foreign lenders (private market), Prof. Peiris said the talks were deadlocked as the incumbent administration couldn’t convince the lenders of its plans. There hadn’t been absolutely any progress at all, Prof. Peiris said, adding that it was the bitter truth, though the Finance Ministry was trying to conceal it. (SF)


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