21 May, 2024

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The Sale Of National Assets & State Owned Enterprises

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

The government’s plans to sell off certain national assets and state owned enterprises have given rise to discontent among trade unions, political parties and the general public. The present divestiture drive is ostensibly aimed at minimizing govt. expenditure on loss-making state owned enterprises and meeting certain IMF conditions in that regard. I ruled the country for more than nine years from November 2005 to January 2015 without ever selling a single state owned enterprise. In fact, my government actually re-acquired some state owned enterprises such as the Insurance Corporation, and Lanka Hospitals that had been sold off by previous governments and these enterprises continue to make profits for the state to date.

My government had a pragmatic approach towards state owned assets and enterprises. If a state owned enterprise was making profits and providing a good service to the public, we saw no reason to privatize it. At times, a government may take a strategic decision to manage the prices of certain goods or services produced by state owned enterprises for the overall benefit of the economy or to help low-income earners. The energy sector is a good example of this. There is no government in the world that does not subsidise certain earmarked economic activities.

During my tenure as President, even if some state owned enterprises made losses due to a government decision to manage prices, our management of the economy resulted in an unbroken nine year economic boom. We had no difficulty in paying off our debts or meeting the costs of the subsidies we maintained and nobody even spoke of privatization when I was President. Since the divestiture of certain sectors can have far reaching consequences for the country especially when foreign parties are involved, this is an issue that has to be approached with caution. As was resolved at the SLPP May Day rally, any restructuring of state owned enterprises should take place with maximum transparency, according to a national plan, in a manner consistent with national security and in consultation with the employees.

Having said that, I wish to stress that the trade union sector for its part, should take a more nuanced approach towards private sector participation in state owned enterprises. Going by the dictionary definition of privatization, any involvement of the private sector in the ownership structure or the control of a state owned asset or enterprise can be characterized as privatization. However, trade unions should not oppose every attempt to obtain foreign or private sector investment in a government owned enterprise. A pragmatic and non-dogmatic approach to such matters is required.

If there are unutilized government properties or underperforming government enterprises, it makes sense to obtain private sector participation to turn such enterprises around. If a profitable state owned enterprise needs further investment to add a new feature which cannot be financed by the government, it makes sense to award a share of that enterprise to a private investor in exchange for the investment. If an investor is willing to build a new enterprise from scratch, it makes sense to award shares in that enterprise to the investor so that a new state asset comes into being.

Some political parties have an ideology driven, dogmatic approach to privatization and seeks to privatize anything and everything that can be privatized. Many trade unions also have a similarly dogmatic attitude and tend to oppose any involvement of the private sector in state owned enterprises. Both these extremes are harmful to the country. Trade unions should regard proposals to obtain private or foreign participation in a state owned enterprise on a case by case basis and look at the overall benefit of such collaboration to the country. The only real way national assets and strategically important state owned enterprises can be safeguarded is by having a government that takes a pragmatic and non-dogmatic approach to such matters. This is why it is important to take note of the fact that when I ruled the country for more than nine years, the economy flourished and there was not even a discussion on the subject of privatization.

The present government is an interim arrangement formed to run the country for the remainder of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s term. Even the pro-privatisation lobby should realize that the hasty divestiture of state owned assets at a time like this will not produce the best outcome for the country. Furthermore, the next Presidential election is only a few months away. Hence, as a measure to ease the widespread discontent over the government’s divestiture drive, I wish to propose that all moves to sell off state owned assets or enterprises be postponed until a new government is formed after the next Presidential election. The new government will then be able to deal with state owned properties and enterprises in accordance with the mandate they obtain at the election.

*Mahinda Rajapaksa, Leader, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna

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Latest comments

  • 13
    4

    Mahinda mama,

    “I ruled the country for more than nine years from November 2005 to January 2015 without ever selling a single state owned enterprise.”
    In your above statement you used “I” instead of “We” or “Our Family” but you purposely ignored that it is You or you family ruled from 2019 to 2022 and people chased away you and your family. You handed over to your best friend “Ranil” who rule on your behalf.Don’t forget that the Sri Lankan airlines were run by Profitable when it was partly sold to “Emirates” but you wanted to misuse the SriLankan for your family and Emirates partnership was lost and Sri Lankan is now on sale because of you and your family. No one will forget that you filled your pocket the money that came to those families who affected by Tsunami. We all remember what happened to the investments by China in Hambantota. You may be proud of your number of murders happened during your rule including Lasantha.

  • 15
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    1
    This mlechcha man assumes people are eternally stupid.
    .
    MAR is the most abusive man in Sri Lankan politics since independence.
    We sinhalaya should be ashamed to have allowed this bugger to ruin 23 millions of people this country.

    I don’t hate Prabhakaran and former leader of JVP, but I permamently hate this high criminal because I know this person did it by brainwashing our weakened majority which is about 70% of the population. Knowing that the woman is raped, we should not abuse the rape victim, but this bp did it. That says everyting about the crime levels of the bugger et al.

    His sataka and national dress (cheating coat) are the uniforms that manipulated the people saying that he was truly involving understanding the “sadness of the village man”:

    why on earth did the MAIN STREAM MEDIA not reveal it even today? There I am speechless.

    He acted his role as a politician, being fake for the entire life. People s mandate were there if the bugger really wanted to do something. All is given by people to him glorying so called ” war victory”:
    The eyes of the media mafia should be opened even today. That is my main wish among many for the future of this nation. Media can make a real difference by empowering the nation and improving the awareness of voters.-
    tbc

  • 13
    0

    2
    He today accuses RW of selling off national assets, when in fact, his government sold them on its own. He is making every effort to spread blatant lies (that is bugger s habbit in his entire political carrier, there are evidences that he was close to some journalists, until his contract killer took their lives) about his rival parties as he knows that nothing will happen in their favor today.

    At this point where anything and everything would be in demand for the debt restrucutruing in terms of economic revival, , if the IMF’s recommendations are met, it will have the full agreement of all SUPPORTIVE parliamentarians and backers.
    However, this man spends his whole life as a ” totally fake character”, trying to be in the good books in front of the stupid Sri Lankans who support him further. Our people should finally open their eyes.
    Those stupid voters need brains.
    My wish is that this man should be punished before his last breath. The amount of damage this man has deliberately done to this nation is beyond all estimations.
    He did it knowingly. He took huge loans under his administration and reportedly lost more than 80% of it. There were no records to find out what money was spent during his terms, as good governance GOVT analysed it..

    • 1
      5

      leelagemalli, You say that this abusive man MAR should be punished before his last breath. The punishment after death is really assured. Heb.9,27 says “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgement” Also Rev. 14,13 says ” Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”

      • 3
        0

        Hello DTG,
        Well that’s good. We don’t need a Criminal Justice System then do we? No need for Police, no need for Courts and no need for Evidence. Oh I forgot, Religion never needed Evidence anyway. As the song went “two out of three ain’t bad”
        Best regards

      • 6
        0

        Is your god biased? .
        .
        Why is that it seems even high criminals get further support 🤔 from all various hidden forces for their day today life?.
        .
        Prove us that a god is existing, that can surely help people s suffering in our hell.
        .
        Why no justice yet again high crimes committed by Rajapakses if god s existence is real?

        • 0
          3

          leelegamalli, Criminals as well as law abiding citizens have all got the free will to choose what to do. Don’t blame God for all the evil that men do. To help people’s suffering, you need to put off your pride and humble yourself and come under his kingdom rule. Then you will find the true nature of the creator God of love giving all saving, healing and deliverance. Don’t worry about Rajas. They too will get what they deserve, but not in your timing.

  • 4
    0

    There is no reason to keep State owned SOEs other than to give ones political hacks jobs and favors. Other than a few essential sectors the government has no business in business :) .Government should be governing not running businesses in my opinion.

    • 2
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      There are sectors where the state has been the best provider of services, such as public health, education, public transport, water supply and drainage, electric power, telecommunications and postal service among others.
      Privatization and lack of government interest ruined many of them in the UK.
      There are public options besides state ownership like workers’ cooperatives

      • 2
        0

        Hello SJ,
        My wife was truly amazed at the UK Postal Service. We walked in to our local Post Office in the morning, filled out my application for a new Driving Licence and the next morning it arrived in the post. We also bought some Dollars at the Post Office for Ranil.
        Margaret Thatcher tried every trick in the book to privatise everything. She failed with the Health Services and many others. Gas, Electric, Transport, Water (England, not Scotland) and Telecommunications were all privatised.
        Many of the Public Services are not truly privatised they have become Private Monopolies. If you live in an area that is served by Severn Trent Water (or any other Companies) you have no choice of another provider. It’s the same with Gas and Electric Companies, but a little more choice. The last 14 years of Tory Government rule has not helped https://www.theguardian.com/society/2023/oct/30/uk-public-services-policy-institute-for-government-report
        Best regards

        • 1
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          LS
          Thanks.
          I hope that people read your comment with care.
          Homegrown private sector is different from transplants in Thatcher style.

          • 0
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            Hello SJ,
            Thanks, I would be a terrible Businessman (my wife says I would provide it all free), but I have seen that what makes dealing with Private or State Enterprises pleasant, is down to how Customers/Clients are dealt with. Internally they have a robust Quality Plan and externally an open and friendly Customer Service with well defined procedures. They will also have well thought out Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with their own Suppliers and Service Providers.
            Does Sri Lanka have these policies in place and are they audited? – https://asq.org/quality-resources/learn-about-standards

            Just as an aside about State Owned Enterprises (SOE), whatever happened to the Sri Lankan investigation into the Airbus bribes (Sri Lankan Airlines, Mihin Lanka etc). to the Rajapakses et al?
            Best regards

  • 9
    4

    I am more afraid of this guy and his band of crooks being voted back into power than the JVP being voted in. There still are idiots who think SLT is the “national telecom provider”, and that no tourist will come here without Sri Lankan Airlines.

    • 3
      2

      OC,
      “There still are idiots who think SLT is the “national telecom provider”, and that no tourist will come here without Sri Lankan Airlines.”
      And definitely incomplete without, MARA, The Messiah, doing some “Frolics” as usual, GET FULLY PAID PASSENGERS DISEMBARK, AT THE BEHEST OF THE MESSIAH OR HIS ILL-INFORMED HIRELINGS!!??? When that fails, Kick the CEO, who had “Turned around the failing airline, which had been losing money for previous 1/2 Decade”, unceremoniously as a Traitor to the course and engages a “Tea Trader” with no previous airline experience to Head it!!?? Thus, making that once Profit-making State Body, to PARIAH STATUS – ‘Loser for next Decade and a Half’ – at the rate of MORE THAN USD 1 MILLION, FROM YEAR TO YEAR, and also doubles up, being Mara’s greatest achievement!!!??? Very commendable, perhaps the reason it should be acclaimed as the “BEST KEPT AIRLINE”, JUST LIKE THE “Best Kept 2nd Spouse of Kings of Yore”!!?? BLOATED, “Imaginary Market Value”, MEASURED BY THE SIZE OF THE WAISTLINE, BUT NONE OTHER!!??

  • 7
    4

    This is the ‘Idiosyncratic’, AH! “I forget the next word”, ‘IT’S AT THE TIP OF MY TONGUE’, but ‘UNABLE TO SPELL IT OUT’ loud!!?? Pardon for Momentary Memory Loss (MML) please!!???
    “ISN’T HE THE GUY”, who Borrowed beyond 100% of GNP, against all advise from different corners of the earth and Universe, just because of his EGO, and MORE Importantly to “POCKET” part of the Borrowings to good Use, IN OTER PARTS OF THE WORLD and private Banking for Gain!!!??? Primary cause for Bankruptcy and Deprivation, Starvation of the People!!!??? Now he is talking about being Benevolent to the People!!! CROC TEARS, SELF-SERVING ENABLE HIM for ‘ELECTION’ and Another Bout of “SCANDOLOUS THIEVING”!!?? SCUMBAG SHOULD BE BOOTED OUT OF POLITICS FOR GOOD!!!??? Take Political Pension!!?? Get lost!!!???
    People would look upon him with some pity at his PLIGHT, at least if he had LOANED (NOT GIFT or GRANT) 50% of his ‘LOOT’, to “IMPORT FOOD, VACCINE, MEDICATION, and Essentials, FUEL and COOKING GAS” – PEOPLE WERE STARVING AND DYING!!!??? during 2021 and 2022!? How many would have cursed you and you are bound to reap those benefits soon!? KARMA!? WHAT A HUMAN, if it qualifies to be called so!! ‘BANA’!

    • 6
      0

      Dear Mahila Mahathamaya,
      If whole lot of our people continue to eat punnaku, why should MARA behave properly? one time a rascal would never change his nature even if he ages.

      Failure lies in our people. Little is known to them about how to use their little brains. Experts say, our people are more into sex and gossips.

      Majority of our people don’t really care about facts and wrong behavior. It caused Mahinda Rajapaksa to blackmail them again and again. Remember how they responded to a press conference before the 2019 presidential election, sitting together with his brother Gotabaya, Booger et al. “Once the two brothers come back to power, we brothers will be able to revive the economy”: that’s what Mara, the most stupid man of the nation, has PROMISED the nation again. however, it ended up making srilanka A BANCRUPTED state.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5TlqMqN314

  • 4
    1

    Mahinda, old pal

    As a great entertainer, you never fail to amaze me but seriously, do you think all CT readers are dumb enough to believe you?
    Your statement ”During my tenure as President, ………. our management of the economy resulted in an unbroken nine year economic boom. We had no difficulty in paying off our debts or meeting the costs of the subsidies….”. Is that why you pawned the country to China? You & your family, f****d up the country, period, so just shut the f**k up & enjoy your retirement with all the perks paid for by the poor tax payer (apologise for the bad language but this punk & his family takes the piss & I have no other way of showing my outrage)

    I hope AKD, if he becomes President, will bang up all merry bunch & throw away the key, failing which, ‘Karmic justice’, hopefully, will let the whole lot rot in hell. It is said that some ‘karma’ will be dished out in the current life, not necessarily after death. I am waiting to see if it’s true.

    • 0
      1

      Raj-UK, Why did you not see “Karmic justice” on those who bombed churches of God to grab power for high political office, in a quick spell, had to run away from country to country, and finally come back here and hide, unable to visit family in US. This is the heavy truth for now.

  • 4
    5

    Dear MR
    Although you have not mentioned it here. Great thing done in your period was to end LTTE terrorism. Now people can attend to their day-to-day work without any fear. those days family members reluctant to travel together as bomb blast. Couples travels separately. If both die together due to LTTE blast children may become destitute. you Mr. MR given people new life. Although most of the beach’s sons cannot remember it May you live long Sir

    • 3
      4

      Ad,
      “Although most of the beach’s sons cannot “
      Which beach has sons?

      • 2
        0

        oc
        Some interesting definitions:
        An island is a piece of land surrounded by water
        A lake is a piece of water surrounded by land
        A beach is a female dog surrounded by male dogs

        • 2
          2

          SJ,
          Don’t confuse Adi any further. 😂

      • 0
        0

        Hello OC,
        Correct me if I am wrong, but I think that this article is not addressed directly to CT Readers/Contributors (like many other articles). It looks like it is a Statement produced by the SLPP and circulated to various Media Companies https://www.newswire.lk/2024/05/12/sale-of-national-assets-mr-wants-all-moves-postponed/
        If MR reads CT regularly, we are all in trouble, look out for the White Vans😢.
        Best regards

        • 1
          2

          LS,
          You’re right. This piece is a public statement published by MR in many places. Oddly, CT was banned by him for a while.
          Other pieces by authors like Ameer Ali, Kumar David, W.A. Wijewardena, etc are also to be found in the pages of EconomyNext, the Financial Times, The Island, etc.
          But none of them encourage comments the way CT does.

        • 2
          0

          LankaScot

          Access to CT was banned in Sri Lanka during clan rule.

        • 0
          5

          Hello LankaScot,

          White vans were Fonseka’s idea. Mahinda never ordered an execution in his life. Even Gotha is just another IT worker. I don’t read 99.9% of what Leela or OC write, half-truths and zero truths are a waste of time.

          “Ranil Wickremesinghe, the former Prime Minister, accused Sarath Fonseka, the former army commander, of the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge in 2008 and 2009.[59][60] In 2011, the former MP Rajiva Wijesinha told the BBC Sinhala Service that the British High Commission in Colombo had told him it possessed evidence that Fonseka was involved in the assassination of Wickrematunge.[61] According to Fonseka, the order for the assassination was given by Gotabaya.[62] “

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Lasantha_Wickrematunge

          Fonseka is a good general. But he is very ruthless and cunning. That’s exactly why the LTTE was defeated. And I am sure the “white flag” incident at the end of the war also Fonseka.

          • 2
            0

            Hello Lester,
            “Mahinda never ordered an execution in his life”. First of all I never claimed that he did. I will let others with more knowledge than me give an answer.
            A President takes responsibility for the actions of his/her Government even if it wasn’t carried out under their direct orders. No doubt the Hague will ask pertinent questions when the time comes.
            Best regards

            • 1
              0

              Hello Lester,
              Remember I said “A President takes responsibility for the actions of his/her Government even if it wasn’t carried out under their direct orders”
              https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/01/17/canada-sanctions-two-sri-lankan-ex-presidents-rights-violations
              Best regards

            • 0
              1

              Hello LankaScot,

              “No doubt the Hague will ask pertinent questions when the time comes.”

              They will be busy deflecting questions about their inaction on Israel for at least the next decade. And I say that as a supporter of Israel. Keeping in mind, there is a major conflict of interest here.

              “The primary donors to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague are its member states, with contributions determined based on the same scale used by the United Nations to assess dues. This scale considers the economic size of each member state. Major contributors include Japan, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. These countries have provided significant portions of the ICC’s annual budget, which was approximately $185 million in 2023​ (ICC-CPI)​​ (Council on Foreign Relations)​.”

              One might infer that the Hague follows a similar political agenda as its major donors. Similar to the UN, which lets the US run rampant.

          • 0
            0

            . . Lester,
            Come on man,
            Hitler King was Old Rowdy’s Idea. Brought Hitler afresh from the USA, even without a visa. Ponny was Gothapayal. Idea, for what he did in Chandrika’s time in North -mercilessly shave anything that came in front of him. Ponny Killed 165,000 Tamils in North. Old Rowdy said that the Rapist Army had guns in one hand and the UN Charter on the other hand. Later the UN was investigated for allowing the Rapist Army to touch the UN Charter by their hand. Gothapayal said he did all with Zero Casualty. The Evil Emperor said in parliament that if Old Rowdy denied paying for Leader Pirapaharan, then he would investigate Old Rowdy for killing Kadirgamar. And Old Rowdy said he let the Evil Emperor escape from Batalanda and Valaiththodam’s daughter counterfeit currency notes so his son’s murder of Tajuddin must be excused. Buffoon De Silva said that it was he who saved Old Rowd in court from Hangbangtota Fund robbery and made him as president. It was only Tisaranee Gunasekara, the Evil Emperor’s propagandist who said it was Pirapaharan appointed Old Rowdy as the King of the land, but he never won the election. That is what one calls Sinhala Buddhist Intellectuals’ Daku Muki Diki Thalam. Still even in bringing the country to bankruptcy it took 75 years for Sinhala Buddhists Modayas’. Anne Pavum Thamai!

          • 0
            0

            If Anura wins, but not starting the systemic change, that victory alone is the debut of Systemic change!

            Take the bull by the horn NPP!
            Jeyawewa!!

    • 2
      0

      Adiwasiya

      MR may have won the war but that doesn’t give him the right to plunder the country. As for his ‘military strategist’ brother, what a dumb ass he turned out be. If Tiran Alles is to be believed, MR should be tried for treason for paying off the LTTE. What does that make him? Selfish opportunist, traitor or war hero?

      In fact, the 5.9m voters, presumably, including you, have to take responsibility for the state the country is in today but seems still unable to grasp the facts

    • 0
      0

      “Now people can attend to their day-to-day work without any fear. ”
      Still some sons of the birches lying in Langkang beaches as beach sons, without flying to Israel? Tell then Israel pilots are very busy in Rafha but they will come, anyway. If those guys, like you, have to got to go in a hurry, tell them Russia planes will come soon. They can do the rest of the they did in North and East.
      Because of all your stupidity, the governments from 1948 let the Sinhala Buddhist Modayas so bad like that, Isn’t it?

  • 0
    0

    When every annual celebration of pogroms came “Dosai Vadai Apiida Eppa”
    Now all waiting in line in the AirPort to East Chinese Scallion PanCake, American Pizza and Indian Samosa. Appa Diplomacy no longer works in Langkang! What the hell are they going to do by holding the White Elephant assets? All their handsome income earning deposits are in Western countries’ stock markets and crypto currency assets. The Tamils who were managing the country as the 2nd richest in Asia are gone on their path.War was won with American, Indian & Chinese arms. Now what is a big protest to wash the back and service them? Arasanai Nampi Purusanai Kaividda katai!

    Is this new game because Anura has diverted the anti-Tamil election campaign on the UNP-SLFP union bankrupted economy? Member of these guys election time press meeting, which Chandrika described as “He looked right, he looked left, he looked back, still he didn’t know the answer” for the questions the reporters ask the reason for Yahapalanaya time Forex punching. Koorai Eri Koli Pidikatha Kurkaal Vaanam Eri Vaikundaram Pora Pathai Kaadukiraar..

    Protestors time some of the 225 donkeys’ houses escape. The election is comin to distribute electricity and oil to light the rest of the houses Last Election for the UNP-SLFP union!

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