Bill to ensure prior approval | Sunday Observer
Privatising state ventures

Bill to ensure prior approval

5 July, 2020

A Bill will be passed to ensure that prior approval is sought by Parliament before privatising state ventures in the wake of protests by Port workers over a decision to privatise the Eastern Terminal.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa announced this decision following protests by Port workers this week demanding to put on hold the decision to privatise the only terminal to cater to huge cargo carrier ships. “We will ensure legislation to make it mandatory to seek parliamentary approval,” he said.

The Premier said this was an agreement between the former Government and India and this burden had to be carried forward.

Three port employees staged a fast by climbing a crane on Wednesday. They called off the protests following discussions with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Tangalle on Friday.

A five-member committee was also appointed by the Government to examine and report on the concerns regarding the development of the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) and East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port. The decision was taken by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The new committee, headed by Secretary to the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, M.M.P.K. Mayadunne, will consult relevant line ministries, stakeholders and present the final report within 45 days from Friday (3).

Among the eight key areas the committee will look into are, agreements entered by the Government of Sri Lanka with other governments with regard to the Colombo Port, in particular, the East Container Terminal, identifying people who are responsible for the ad-hoc decisions taken regarding the Colombo Port and recommending the action that could be taken against them, and also recommend the way forward to develop the two terminals to get the maximum benefits for Sri Lanka to develop trade, shipping, domestic and foreign investments.

Secretary to the Ministry of Industrial Export and Investment Promotion, M.P.D.U.K. Mapa Pathirana, Secretary, Ministry of Roads and Highways, R.W.R. Pemasiri, Secretary, Ministry of Power and Energy, Wasantha Perera, Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Gen. (Retd) R.M. Daya Rathnayake are the other members of the Committee.