Eran’s Statement on Sale of “Strategically Important SOEs” Draws Intense Criticism: MP Disregards Roadmaps Presented By SJB

SJB Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne's recent statement on restructuring of the SOEs has come under severe criticism for its political expedience and disregard for the economic roadmaps previously presented by his own party.

Speaking at a media conference held at the office of the Leader of Opposition on Sunday, Wickramaratne stated that the SJB opposed the sale or privatization of strategically important State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) such as the CEB and Petroleum Corporation. However, he insisted that the monopoly currently enjoyed by such SOEs must be brought to an end with private sector participation on a competitive market system. He claimed that the government had been focusing on employee interests rather than consumer interests, leading to inefficiency and corruption within SOEs.

Wickramaratne also criticized the government for awarding development projects without following proper procurement processes. He expressed concerns about the lack of transparency in the government's recent discussions with a US firm to bring investment into the energy sector. He also mentioned the loss-making SriLankan Airlines and the government's plans to privatize its two profit-making subsidiaries while leaving the airline to incur further losses.

The SJB Parliamentarian opposed the government's efforts to split the organization into three and sell off the two profit-making institutions separately. Wickramaratne also condemned the President's recent statement implying that the stock market could be liquidated if it were to be closed. He expressed concerns that such statements could discourage foreign investment and questioned the government's motives for attracting foreign investment that would benefit only a select few individuals.

Wickramaratne's statement has received severe backlash for its political expedience and disregard for the economic roadmaps previously presented by the SJB. Many have expressed disappointment that such an opportunistic statement was made by a well-respected banker turned politician. The statement has also blurred the line between the policy differences of the SJB and the NPP.