Posted on July 15th, 2016

Sarath Obeysekera (Ex -Chairman SLLRDC)

We should learn from Ranasinghe Premadasa …….

I am  in Welle Wadiya located by beach side in Kalpitiya spending two nights with the family . This is a  perfect get away- retreat where beach is not yet infested with drug pedaling beach boys” .You can relax from busy schedule in Colombo confronting  the inefficient ,bureaucratic state apparatchik ,fighting every day to achieve something to develop the  Industries in which I am supposed be an expert.

The guest house built three years back does not have three phase electricity, hence  the owners cannot install air conditioners, and frequent power interruptions in the area is affecting the sustainability of tourist business          ( we can still manage these two days without AC due to sea breeze  sweeping through the opened verandah door ,hence we did not complain )

And yet I inquired the reason for not getting three phase power supply .

I was told that the owner has paid full amount to provide power, to CEB and waiting for last three years to get connections. Minister of Industries entangled  in Wilpattu Encroachments is the MP for the area ,but he is not helping the  investors .This hotel is in the top- review list in and Trip Advisor ,thus patronized by many foreigners ,-means we can earn foreign currency for the country

I wonder why the  Ministry of Industries and  ,and tourism help these investors by intervening to get CEB to provide power to the hotels .It is really amazing that Norrochalai power plant proving 500 mw power to the country is just a distance of a” Hoot as we say in Sinhala ,and yet CEB cannot provide power?

I recall the time of President Premadasa ( RP) holding meetings every week in Keselwatte house ,to solve the problems faced by Investors engaged in Garment Industries in problems  related to supply of power or water or construction of road access to the remote factory.

Once there was a instance when the Investor complained about lethargy of CEB to install a power transformer, and he complained about it during the coordination meeting RP was looking for the CEB chairman who was supposed to attend the meeting with other chairmen like us, and found that he was not present. He was furious and asked Mohideen to get a call to the Chairman CEB ,blasted him for not attending the meeting ,and ordered him to install the transformer in three days ,as he himself was attending the opening ceremony .Transformer was installed pronto like a lightening  !!

Our new Minster RK ( there are three R’ s even now RK ,RW and also RP   ( same R Paskerlingam who was the man pillar of RP ) is trying to emulate RP and decided to hold EODB ( ease of doing business ) where investors bring their problems to the forum .

This Forum started with a bang and we enjoyed bringing up our problems we face with Customs ,UDA and Inland Revenue . RK orders them to provide redress .

We now find that Forum has lost it’s enthusiasm and glamour  as bureaucrats who are ordered to provide support tend to ignore the minister !.

After about two or three sessions ,Chairmen or the heads of the Organization stopped attending the meeting and send some low level officer with negative attitude  to give excuses to RK.

Once I told the minister that, I come to the forum because I expect the Minister to provide redress after listening to us he swiped in a humorous vain If  do not listen to you what will happen ?”

I shot back politely and told the Hon” Minister”Sir ,If you do not listen to us you will not be sitting in the head table any more quite soon !!”

Whole forum burst in to a loud laugh and minster too .

The point I am trying to make is the new set of rulers do not have the aggressiveness and determination to achieve targets ,and the Heads of the Organizations and the bureaucrats keep telling investors that FCID is watching them hence they cannot take a bold decision.

I like the functions of FCID and the intentions may be genuine ( not for some families) ,but it has generated a fear psychosis among decisions makers

We suggest the RW become modern day RP   and stay in the country and push the decision makers like RP did.

Sarath Obeysekera (Ex -Chairman SLLRDC)

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