A conference for Heads of State Owned Enterprises, to equip them with the operational aspects on certain financial and administrative instruments, was held at Hilton Colombo today. It was organised by the Department of Public Enterprises. Heads of 55 important State Owned Enterprises were present from strategically important public ventures.
Speaking at the conference, Minister of Finance: Mangala Samaraweera said, last year, in the Vision 2025 document, the government outlined its policy on the management of public enterprises by proposing to eliminate unproductive expenditure. In Vision 2025, a pledge was made to restructure State Owned Enterprises to enable them to operate as commercially viable ventures with accountability. During 2017, these 55 public ventures alone have recorded a total turnover of nearly 1800 billion rupees which was almost 13.22 percent of the Gross Domestic Production.
However, the Minister observed, in recent years the performance of some State Owned Enterprises has raised concerns in terms of fiscal balance. In 2017, four of the main loss-making State Owned Enterprises namely, the Ceylon Electricity Board, Sri Lankan Airlines, Sathosa and the Agriculture & Agrarian Insurance Board, combined in losses amounting to 84 billion rupees.
Minister Samaraweera emphasized, we cannot pass the cost of inefficiency onto the consumer or the general public.
Therefore, he highlighted, the government’s strategy is to encourage and facilitate State Owned Enterprises to be self-sufficient through Improved Corporate Practices, Management Reforms, Innovative Financing, Strong and Prudent Financial Management, Exposure to Competitiveness and International Best-Practices, and Effective Human Resource Management, while enhancing Public Accountability.