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Govt opens state enterprises to private sector investments at assessed value

May 23, Colombo (LNW): State enterprises are now available for private sector investments, but strictly at the government’s assessed valuation, announced State Minister for Urban Development and Housing Arundika Fernando.

This move adheres to President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s directive that state assets should not be offered below their appraised value, he said in a statement.

Minister Fernando emphasised the resumption of regional development projects that had been stalled due to economic challenges.

His comments were made during a press briefing at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC), themed ‘Collective Path to a Stable Country.’

He stated, “The government has authorised the search for investors for enterprises under the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing to ensure their efficient maintenance.”

This initiative aims to promote transparent investment processes for properties like the Hilton Hotel, thereby enhancing government financial reserves, distributing shares to employees, and ensuring orderly management of these entities.

The goal is to secure investments that exceed the government’s assessed value. President Wickremesinghe has mandated that no state enterprise should be sold below its appraised value.

Fernando also addressed the significant debt burden of Sri Lankan Airlines, noting that any potential investor must have the financial capability to manage the remaining debt, even if the government assumes part of it.

He highlighted issues with valuable government land allocated for projects such as the Colombo Hyatt Hotel, Chris, and Destiny, where investors have abandoned their commitments.

The Krrish project, in particular, remains an environmental concern due to an unfinished building.

The Colombo Hyatt Hotel project, which has received US$ 60 million primarily from public funds and has an outstanding debt of US$ 35 million, occupies a significant plot of land in Colombo.

Should a suitable investor not be found, the government plans to complete the project with the assistance of the armed forces, funded by the treasury.

The State Minister expressed optimism about a substantial increase in foreign investment in the coming months, citing a recent surge in foreign reserves as evidence of economic recovery.

These funds have been allocated to restart halted regional development projects. Under the President’s economic agenda, funding for the Aswasuma Social Welfare Benefit Program has tripled compared to the “Samurdhi” programme.

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