RPC’s rosy plans insufficient to assure true sustainability | Daily News

RPC’s rosy plans insufficient to assure true sustainability

Minister Dissanayake receiving a token of appreciation.
Minister Dissanayake receiving a token of appreciation.

Regional Plantation companies (RPCs) at every forum, make vain attempts to give a very rosy generalized picture of their plans, investments and performance but these are barely sufficient to assure true sustainability, said Minister of Plantation Navin Dissanayake.

There is a serious crisis blooming in the plantation sector and those troubled RPCs cannot take an ostrich approach and heap self-praise on themselves.

He was addressing the first seminar on Sustainability of Plantation Management (NIPM) organized by the National Institute of Plantation Management at its auditorium.

Sri Lanka cannot condone this existing dysfunctional industry structure any longer, the minister emphasized.

Restructuring in inevitable and is in fact long overdue. Our policy is to provide policy incentives to those good performers in category one, I hesitate to call them excellent performers as they can surely do very much better to reach sustainable global competitiveness.

We will anyway add judicious disincentives to underperform. The middle group will have to awaken from their slumber and we will throw buckets of icy cold water on them until they begin to climb up the ladder. We shall introduce an effective regime of monitoring and course corrections based on expert advice while leaving management autonomy in their own hands. We will be closely watching and they will be given a last chance to reform. Unless they change, the RPCs will change hands. This is an ultimatum.”

“To help RPCs to overcome the muddle, since they are not taking the initiative by themselves as responsible corporate citizens, learning from the best, we will introduce new management models that are to be developed collaboratively and not arbitrarily. I know that large plantation companies in other countries invest in millions of dollars, in tree crops. They look for the future and manage the present well. They do not live in the past. They do not run to governments or donors seeking handouts.”

Government cannot dole out capital to RPCs. If they are entrepreneurial and risk taking, sourcing funds from capital markets is not an issue.

“I would say RPCs need a Meiji restoration. Let young samurais takeover. Next five years will be challenging for all of us. Unless we face these challenges squarely, our nation has no future.

It is already too late and there is a need for quick decisions and radical changes. If not, this government will be kicked out soon. Next government too will face the same tune.” 


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