UNP MP and Investment Promotions and Highways Deputy Minister Eran Wickramaratne said yesterday that factions of the UPFA went against the wishes of the people by diluting one of the most important features that would have made the 19th amendment more meaningful for the people. He said the UNP and Maithripala Sirisena campaigned to abolish the Executive Presidency and build an independent, depoliticised public sector.
Sri Lanka needs to have a political strategy to support the implementation of reforms and restructurings of state owned enterprises to reduce the burden on the treasury or the tax payer, deputy minister of state owned enterprises (SOEs) said.
“We have a situation in which the tax payer at large is paying for the expenses of a few who actually benefit directly from those enterprises,”Eran Wickramaratne, deputy minister of state enterprise development told a forum organized by the Institute of Policy Studies.
Several of Sri Lanka’s state-run financial institutions are not a burden on the people following reforms in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“There are SOEs not in financial sector providing goods and services that are loss-making, which are funded by the tax payer’s money,” Deputy State Enterprises Development Minister Eran Wickremaratne said.
“So the legitimate question does arise, ‘Why should the tax payer bear the brunt of it when the actually the state enterprises should be to provide goods and service at the highest possible quality and the lowest possible price?’ And that is the reason state enterprises should exist.”
Sri Lanka needs to reform taxation, loss making state enterprises, labour market, agriculture and social protection to ensure long term economic growth, observed the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) releasing its flagship report Sri Lanka State of The Economy 2015.
The report spells out a range of economic challenges the new government is facing of which fiscal consolidation is key. Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne addressing the gathering said the government’s immediate focus will be the stability of foreign reserves while introducing necessary economic reforms.
“In the past the economy was driven by largely a public investment programme and borrowings. So, the new government has to work hard to improve the enabling environment so that we attract investments,” Minister Wickramaratne said.
Sunday Times – 10/04/15
මෙම මාධ්ය සාකච්ඡාවේදී මම මගේ අලූත් අමාත්යංශය ගැන,රජයේ ඉදිරි වැඩපිළිවෙල ගැන අදහස් පළකලා
What is really needed is investment. The former regime ran the economy through debt. Sri Lanka has now been ranked in the first 25 countries in the debt crisis in the world published by the Jubilee Debt Movement in London. Our Government in the first four months of this year has borrowed 40% less than the previous Government borrowed in the same period last year. We need to attract more foreign investments. Since investors knew that this Government would be dissolved soon, they wanted to wait to see what would happen in the next five years.
Q: How do you view the present political situation, which took an unexpected turn with some former Ministers joining the UNP-led coalition for good governance?
A: After the election of the new President, quite unexpectedly the presidency of the SLFP was given to President Maithripala Sirisena. On one hand it was a good move, but he had a dilemma on the other hand. He had pressure from the SLFPers to make decisions in their interest and not in the interest of the country. Therefore, they forced those politicians who are undesirable to be in the nomination list, including the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, several ministers and MPs whom the public would have rejected and had questionable actions in the past.