Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama told Parliament on Thursday the government policy was not to privatise any public sector enterprise but to strengthen them with management inputs and support to make them viable. `We have faith in the public sector and it has proved its usefulness to the country and we will not privatise any public enterprise, he said.`
Dr. Amunugama was speaking on an Adjournment Motion calling for the government to recover a loss of rupees 13 billion by the sale of the National Insurance Corporation during the tenure of office of the UNF regime. The motion by JVP parliamentarian Wasantha Samarasinghe said `It is proposed to this Parliament that steps be taken to recover a sum of Rs. 13, 000 million lost to the Government as a result of the sale of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation with assets to the tune of Rs. 30 billion, to the private sector by the previous United National Party government and the sum of over Rs. 1400 million denied to the employees consequent to that move.
Introducing the Adjournment Motion in Parliament Wasantha Samarasinghe said a Minister of the previous UNF government had misled parliament about the real assets of the Insurance Corporation the leader in that sector. While the Insurance Corporation employed 3,000 people it also has 15,000 agents in the field. The assets of the corporation as at 11.4.2003 stood at 68 billion rupees. But the UNF had not disclosed the actual value of the corporation when it was privatised. Action should be taken to recover the loss incurred to the government in this transaction which reeked of corruption.
Colombo District UNP member T. Maheswaran speaking on the motion said that it was true the UNP had privatised many public enterprises but the present government was also now following the same policy in proposing to privatise the Eppawela Phosphate Deposit and many other public assets including drinking water.
Maheswaran disturbed a hornet?s nest in making certain remarks about the conduct of some government members and the Deputy Speaker Geethanjana Gunawardena who was presiding expunged those remarks from the Hansard.