Money-gobbling State institutions hampering infrastructure
development - Enterprise Development Minister
Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Dr.
Sarath Amunugama addresses the conference.
Picture by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa
EXPENDITURE: The expenditure incurred by some State
institutions prevents the Government from allocating more funds for the
country's infrastructure development projects, Minister of Enterprise
Development and Investment Promotion, Dr. Sarath Amunugama said at the
national conference on Policy Constraints, Regulatory Barriers and
Regional Economic Development held yesterday in Colombo.
Addressing the conference, the Minister said that institutions such
as the Ceylon Electricity Board, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the
Railway Department absorbed a large amount of funds for their day-to-day
operations. Per day, CPC derived funds which the Government could invest
in constructing a general hospital.
Lack of infrastructure development has paved the way for regional
disparities in the country. The Western Province has shown a 12 per cent
growth while other regions showed poor growth due to lack of
infrastructure. A double digit growth rate is the norm in Asian
countries but Sri Lanka still remains at an average of over 5 per cent
Sri Lanka needs to accelerate transport, power, social and other
infrastructure development projects. If the country could expand the
power sector by 10 per cent Sri Lanka could rapidly gain a double-digit
growth rate , the Minister said.
Most of the power projects in Sri Lanka do not work efficiently and
there is nearly a 25 per cent of shortfall in generating power for these
projects. The country needs to focus on mini hydropower projects, funded
by the private sector to strengthen the local power supply, he said.
Provincial Councils (PCs) have a vital role in developing regional
economic growth. PCs need to attract investors to their respective
regions by providing incentives for investors and reducing the
unemployment rates in the regions. However, today nearly 75 per cent of
the Provincial Council budgets are allocated for settling salaries,
Director, Centre for Development Research, Royal Institute, Dr.
Wilbert Gunarathne, said that all local businesses are affected by the
lack of infrastructure development and this has reduced their
Access to high quality human resources, advanced technology and
finance are other barriers faced by local businesses. There is a lack of
dialogue with the business community in establishing the policy
framework of the country.
The regulatory framework of the country is still outdated and not
business-friendly. The country needs to create public-private business
forums at district level to address problems faced by local businesses,
The research report on policy advocacy issues of local private sector
development was presented to Minister Amunugama during the conference.