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Sri Lanka government in particular should not be in business: Minister

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ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government in particular should not be in business due to severe policy uncertainty that hit state enterprises, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said.

The government should not be running businesses but an enabler and facilitator he said addressing Sri Lanka’s Colombo International Maritime and Logistics Conference 2022.

In Sri Lanka in particular policy uncertainty was extreme he said.

“In some countries it may be possible,” Minister Sabry said. “In Sri Lanka policies don’t just change when governments change, but also when the minister changes and the secretary changes.”

In the case of the Ceylon Electricity Board a change of minister led to the absorption 4,000 new workers, he said.

Sri Lanka has large and small loss-making state enterprises, which are usually overstaffed.

Sri Lanka ended permanent secretaries of ministries starting from 1971 which led to a gradual breakdown of the permanent apolitical public service and loss of institutional knowledge and continuity, critics say.

Though a Constitutional Council has been set up to make senior appointments and judges, secretaries have been left out up to now.

Sri Lanka also starting changing ministry names, their subjects and institutions.

Now ministries are created and broken within the same administration at a dizzying frequency. (Colombo/Nov02/2022)

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