RW says following Prez. Premadasa’s privatisation route

BY Buwanajee Coralage

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has claimed that he is following in the footsteps of former President Ranasinghe Premadasa in privatising profit-making State owned enterprises (SOEs), in response to the Opposition’s request to sell only loss-making SOEs.

“‘Sell ​​loss-making companies and don’t sell profit-making companies’ was the request by the Opposition, as well as Government MP Mahinda Rajapaksa. However, the privatisation of State-owned companies commenced under former President Premadasa. I initialised it as the Minister of Industries at the time,” said Wickremesinghe.

Reiterating his point, Wickremesinghe then presented examples of many profit-making State-owned enterprises that were privatised after the liberalisation of the economy (post-1977). 

“First, we sold United Motors, which was a profit-making company. Secondly, it was Ceylon Oxygen, which was also making a profit. Following that were Ceylon Leather Products, the Ceylon Tyre Corporation, Lanka Milk Foods, the Distilleries Company, and some plantation companies, all of which were making profits. 

“In 1977, President J.R. Jayewardene liberalised the economy, and in 1989, President Premadasa took steps to reduce Government control over the economy, which led to the privatisation of some sectors in the country,” he said.

Wickremesinghe further emphasised that these steps were followed based on the principles of China under President Deng Xiaoping, stating that even now, the Government led by him (Wickremesinghe) is still following those principles.