President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that the largest privatization will be done through the 2024 budget. This is simply implementing what has already proved very fruitful and not something negative or strange. The President has started to do what should have been done by all former Sri Lankan leaders during the past 75 years. Sri Lanka is blessed to have such a leader who put the country before his next election victory.
The best example for success has already been set by institutions which are under the administration of Primary Industries State Minister Chamara Sampath Dasanayake. Early November before the budget, five institutions came under the purview of Primary Industries State Minister Chamara Sampath Dasanayake handed over Rs. 925 million to President Ranil Wickremesinghe in order to send the money to the treasury. No media gave priority to this news.
The profits earned by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority which is Rs. 350 million, profits collected from the Lanka Phosphate Limited which is Rs. 300 million, profits earned by the B.C.C. Company which is Rs. 100, the profits collected from the National Salt Limited which is Rs. 100 million and the profits collected from the Sri Lanka Cement Corporation which is Rs. 75 million handed over to the President before the budget. The total was Rs. 925 million.
Earlier State Minister Chamara Sampath Dasanayake questioned in the Parliament whether State departments such as Railway Department etc can do the same and give profits to the treasury. He stated in the Parliament that no trade union or trade unionist should be allowed to sabotage the institutions and it is the only way pushing those institutions forward. If proper management without bowing down to trade unions and trade unionists can earn this much of profits, privatizations can double this profit very easily.
This is not the only example here in Sri Lanka. There is a 100 percent State owned university which functions without any trade union, any student union and especially any ragging. It independently functions without taking even a cent from the Government from day one. It only runs with the fees paid by students and this university also pays a monthly loan instalment of Rs. 150 million to one of the State banks. This is none other than the NSBM Green University. This system should be applied to all State universities in Sri Lanka.
All the above examples are proven success stories connected to the state institutions with private sector contribution and partly privatizing. Sri Lankan people are NOT babies, and they have firsthand experience of both the State sector and private sector institutions. According to the ordinary people of this country the experiences they received from the state sector and the private sector are totally different and there is a huge difference between those two types of experiences.
The State sector gives extremely unpleasant experiences to the ordinary people just because the public servants think that they are the `State’ and the ordinary people are under them, and they can dominate them. But the private sector thinks that they are the servants of the ordinary people who are their customers. The private sector believes that it is customers who keep them going. These two different beliefs make this huge difference.
The State sector employees get paid for their attendance which is marked in a register. Only a handful of State institutions mark the attendance using identity card punching machines or fingerprint machines. Therefore the employees can come to the office at any time and mark the time as 8.15 am and leave at any time marking the time as 4.30 pm. Therefore those public servants simply do not require working in order to draw their salaries. They exactly know that they get paid at the end of every month no matter if they serve the people or not.
But it is totally different in the private sector. It serves their customers and treats them like kings and queens. No excuses given for anything and everything done on time in high quality without any delay or harassing ordinary people demanding to do or bring various unrealistic things. This is why the private sector employees need to work in order to get their salaries at the end of every month. They get paid for the workload they did and not for signing `In’ and `out’.
Due to the huge difference between the State sector and the private sector almost all Sri Lankan ordinary people are fed up with the State sector and demand to privatize all state institutions, especially the transport service in the country. But the public servants use certain things in order to keep the State institutions as they are in order to get paid for doing nothing. They use the history of the institution, ownership of the institution etc to antagonize people against privatization. The only dream of the public sector is getting paid for doing nothing. But no Sri Lankan is willing to pay tax in order to maintain the luxury lives of public servants any longer. No more `free’ and `relief’ should be expected by any Sri Lankan if he/she learned the lesson in early and mid-2022.