The Expropriation Bill is a ‘one off bill’; Sri Lankan government assures the business community

Nov 06, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has given the assurance to the business community in the country that the proposed bill titled “Revival of Underperforming Enterprises and Underutilized Assets” is a one-off bill and it would never harm other ventures in the future.

The proposed legislation which is to be tabled in the parliament on November 8th paves the way for the government to take over some 37 businesses that the government says are being mismanaged while receiving many government concessions.

Several Trade Chambers following a discussion with the government had said in a statement that they were promised that it will never be done again, the government media reported.

According to a statement issued by the group of business chambers, representatives of several business organizations have held discussions on Saturday with the President, senior cabinet ministers and senior government officials associated with the subject of economic development to express their concerns over the bill.

During the meeting the government has assured the business representatives that it would be a ‘one off bill’ and its intention is purely to revive the 37 underperforming enterprises and underutilized assets slated to be taken over.

The government has assured to revive these enterprises or assets through the private sector and to give the present holders of these businesses the opportunity to submit proposals to the government to revive their respective enterprises or assets.

The business chambers have been assured that some of the expropriated assets would be given back to the private sector. The representatives have requested that

some companies be removed from the schedule.

“The business chambers will continue to remain engaged with the government on the proposed bill,” the statement said.

The government media spokesman, Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella defended the government’s move on Thursday during the cabinet press briefing.

Without naming any specific company by name, the spokesman accused the management of some of the companies of deliberately mismanaging the institutions by denying benefits to workers, delaying payment of salaries and methodically destroying the assets and machinery.

He denied the opposition’s charges that the bill is aimed at taking over businesses owned by opposition party members.

“We are not targeting any individuals, but what we hope to achieve is a people-friendly management that will fully utilise the assets,” Rambukwella told media Thursday.

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