Posted on July 15th, 2016

Sarath Obeysekera

Government is much hyped about private public partnerships to find a way to solve the problem of inefficiency  , mismanagement ,corruption  and handling unions .

Government should also have to find way to and come out of the obligation to spend government coffers to pay salaries etc.

Leaders talk about it in every public meeting and during foreign visits and give promises to world bank and the other  development agencies u and highlight importance to make the  private sector which the engine of development .

I am from private sector, and few samples below will illustrate that this is a farce and not workable due to the intervention of unions and inability of the government to take a form stand .

Few months back Ceynor which is  a Government owned Business Undertaking ( GOBU) has called RFP     ( request for proposals)  to lease out an old dilapidated ware house to private sector .Our company put forwards a bid with a proposal to join  with Ceynor with an equity and develop the premises as a Fibre Glass Boat Building Facility ( FRP) .This is the main  industry which CEYNOR is  involved in.

Ceynor is unable to develop it in Sri Lanka due to mismanagement and government intervention Chairmen ,MD and GM who have limited or no  experience in boat building have been appointed by the Ministers and they have no clue on how to develop it further.

There were other proposals from private companies to use it just a as  ware house and   pay only a monthly lease .CEYNOR refuse to entertain oue  proposal and now trying to just to lease out to may be a storage .

So we were looking for another land near Colombo to develop as a workshop for the shipyard .

State Engineering Corporation ( SEC) has issued another RFP to lease out their land in Peliyagoda was where their central workshop is based .

SEC which has been a pioneering government Construction Agency has gone bankrupt due to mismanagement and intervention by the State ,need funds to pay their salaries  hence they just wanted to lease out the land and obtain some funds .

RFP was issued and we submitted bid and offer to enter into a PPP with SEC and the able Chairman      ( by the way he is leading expert in Industry and we both worked under Premadasa and firmly believes that PPP is the best option ) entertained our offer submitted thru the RFP  offer .We almost signed an agreement and enter into a long term collaboration .

Then a leading trade union (This union is affiliate to a party who keeps losing public support an yet remain in politics by instigating young workforce to protest against any action by the state) went to the Minister and complained about the plan and the Minister has put a stop to the plan .

Minister should stand on firm grounds and let the proves go through and support privatization.Sadly he gave in and stopped the process.

In the case of Fishery Minister who suppprts privatization is facing problems with the Unions .

These days Fishery Corporation is in the news and minister is claiming that they may have to close it down and send workers home by paying some money under Voluntary Retirement Scheme ( VRS)

He suggested that corporation should look into privatization  .We offered to establish PPP to resurrect the corporation by over the dilapidated  cool rooms and build a new cool room for storage of fish and resurrect the corporation.

Again the same Union goes to the Minister and organizing public protests and picketing against the privatisation .

Now the project is abandoned. ( we expected the Minister who is the son of the President who believed in privatization and enforcement of state discipline)

Sri Lanka Ports Authority has entered into a PPP with us to establish a shipyard in Galle Harbour with a sharing of profits, It has been three years and the project cannot get off the ground due to short-sightedness of some leaders who are sighting various reasons and not allowing us to mobilize.

We have presented these issues during sessions of Ease of doing business ( EODB) ,and to other forums where ruling party leaders hold periodically to solve such problems .

Nothing happened so far  because of inability of ministers to take bold decisions .

Next example is the SAITEM issue. Among the unions ,we also have prominent medical professionals who have no clue that privatization is the best for the growth.

Most of them want it to be taken over by the state. We will lose much benefits to the country by losing the foreign currency because students have to pay to study aboard in foreign currency

Government is giving in to every protest by the Unions who has always stood on the way to go for privatization and the committees appointed to solve problems in establishing PPP .have gone terribly wrong somewhere.

What is the option?

Close down all the loss making enterprises so that the Unions look after their members and feed them for the rest   of their lives and ,give absolute powers to Megapolis ,Centre for Strategic Development and BOI to enforce loss making institution to implement PPP in every state organization .

Sarath Obeysekera


  1. Nimal Says:

    Handover infrastructure and other ventures to Private companies where politicians have no fingers in it.

  2. NAK Says:

    There are pro’s and con’s in everything. The former fisheries minister had given a fishery habour to one of his stooges for peanuts and he talks big..very big about corruption of others in the previous regime!

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