State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe on Wednesday said that the Treasury could not save the State-Owned Enterprises that incurred losses.Sri Lanka must follow the globally accepted economic methods, he said. During a ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday (04), the state minister emphasised that Sri Lanka’s adoption of counter economic measures was a direct response to a major economic crisis.
He emphasised that each country must identify and implement its own strategies to stabilise its economy. The Minister’s comments were made in conjunction with the signing of Corporate Intention agreements between the Ministry of Finance and several state-owned enterprises.
The state minister provided insight into the financial performance of 52 strategically important public institutions. According to his report, 39 of these institutions have been generating profits, while the remaining 13 are currently running at a loss. Shockingly, these 13 institutions have collectively incurred losses of over 1029 billion rupees. In contrast, the total profits generated by the profitable institutions amount to only 218 billion rupees.
He also drew attention to the alarming fact that the overall annual losses of government institutions exceed 811 billion rupees. However, he acknowledged that the profit-making institutions have contributed Rs. 28 billion to the national treasury.
The state minister also acknowledged that while the government enjoys a market monopoly in several related businesses, many of its institutions are still incurring losses. In light of the current economic crisis, the Minister emphasised that the treasury can no longer sustain institutions that have not met their financial targets or that continue to operate at a loss. He pointed out that any allocation of funds from the treasury ultimately amounts to an allocation of taxpayer money for the maintenance of these institutions. Therefore, the government cannot afford to burden the public any further by continuing to financially support such institutions. Instead, the government will take a regulatory role in overseeing the operations of these entities.