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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2730

Karu Jayasuriya lashes out at politicization for preventing development

By Quintus Perera - Asian Tribune

Colombo, 21 January, (Asiantribune.com): It is shameful that Sri Lanka has been unable to achieve desired progress and development, even after 60 years of Independence and the retardation could be attributed to petty politics that has been prevalent in Sri Lanka said Karu Jayasuriya, Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs, at the Key Person’s Forum conducted by the Small and Medium Enterprise Developers (SMED), a project of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) and Friedrich Naumann Stifftung (FNSt).Karu Jayasuriya: "After 60 years of Independence the country has not achieved so much other than what was left over by the British, as there was no tangible development such as building of necessary highways have not been taken place."Karu Jayasuriya: "After 60 years of Independence the country has not achieved so much other than what was left over by the British, as there was no tangible development such as building of necessary highways have not been taken place."

The Forum was held at Trans Asia Hotel and Jayasuriya spoke on “Making Public –Private Partnership Meaningful – Strategy of the Government”.

He said that he has long been associated with the private sector and while appreciating the role played by the Private sector, he conceded that the private sector was corrupt and in his ministry he was able to infuse efficiency which would be taken as a role model to be emulated by the public sector.

He said that looking at the pre and post Independence period of this country, the public sector was disciplined and moral and at that time Sri Lanka’s pubic sector was one of the best in Asia.

When the British left this country they have left behind a landmark of good highway network and the railway system and talking about private sector at that time it served mostly for the convenience of the Europeans. The private sector performance at that time was very active but the indigenous private sector was not that active.

He said that with the advent of Independence the birth of National Chamber of Commerce was established to look after the indigenous business and to compete with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Successive governments talked about the private sector and considered as the engine of growth and to export or perish. He said that the private sector which is considered to be the engine of growth has been respectable and has been playing a meaningful role in the economy of the country.

But he said that after 60 years of Independence the country has not achieved so much other than what was left over by the British, as there was no tangible development such as building of necessary highways have not been taken place.

For that we should be ashamed of. He said that there is high cost of electricity and the coal power plant was planned in 1992. It was very recently the government was able to at least start with the coal power project. He said that another factor for the retardation of development could be attributed to not utilizing the full potential of the private sector. He said that so much of private sector capabilities were ignored.

He said the private sector in Sri Lanka is dynamic which has been growing despite lot of difficulties. He said that in some areas like providing services and garments private sector has done extremely well. They are operating very successfully and are even expanding to the other parts of the globe. He said that though some of these private sector businesses are not known here, international business people talk about the Sri Lankan private sector successes.

He said that comparatively, post Independence public sector has declined with indiscipline and inefficiency which are attributable for the politicization of the whole administrative system.

He said that somewhere in the 90’s and early 2000 all parties together moved the 17th amendment and were able to agree for some form of reforms, such as the setting up of the Constitutional Council which was non-political, non-racial and non-religious. It functioned smoothly, until its first term was over. But then due to some shortcomings new Constitutional Council was failed to be set up.

He said that another area that reforms would be necessary could be the electoral reforms of which they have been talking for several years but no progress was made. He said that the current electoral system costs lot of money and other implications and therefore change in the system was felt necessary. He noted and appreciated the support given by the FNSt in these electoral reform activities.

- Asian Tribune -

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