Home » Government now gives prominence to state asset management after decades

Government now gives prominence to state asset management after decades


Sri Lanka Government is to introduce a State Asset Management Act to evaluate and properly manage the non financial assets belonging to the state hitherto politically and purposely shut down from the radar of successive regimes during the past several decades, a cabinet memorandum revealed.

According to a global wealth report for countries each year , Sri Lanka’s net wealth or assets was around US$ 351 billion and $ 50 billion of debt and this was confirmed by several senior Finance Ministry officials adding that the proper assessment has not been made as yet.

In the absence of proper screening or constant inspection of state assets as well as material and cost management with constant checking as well as lack management supervision has led to corruption and misappropriation causing massive loss to the state coffers, Finance Ministry sources revealed.

Attempts made by several previous governments to implement a systematic process of developing, operating, maintaining, upgrading and disposing of assets in a cost effective manner worth foreign financial agency support have been disrupted due to protests of opposition and trade unions, senior official of the ministry claimed.

Maximum utilisation of government lands an estimated 85 percent of the country’s 6.6 million hectares of land for investment and development activities has so far not fruitful due to the same reason, he pointed out. ,

In the wake of ill effects of the current economic crises the Government has decided to introduce a new State Asset Management Act with the aim of taking up the leadership and custodianship role in the management of non financial assets belonging to the state, recent cabinet memorandum revealed.

It will enable the Comptroller General’s office of the Finance Ministry to prepare a national asset register and to introduce a central database related to State assets in accordance with new act.

The value and quality of the government assets have be deteriorated due to ignorance of respective institutions and failure to implement an effective system for the maintenance and improvement of these assets.

It has been observed that there was no proper records of the majority of over 400 State owned Enterprises .operating in several key sectors including power, energy, finance and insurance, water, aviation, health and education etc.

Of these, 52 SOEs have been identified as State Owned Business Enterprises (SOBEs) as they are regarded to be strategically important to the functioning and transformation of the economy , but some of them were also operating at a loss and have become a for the treasury, Finance Ministry official said.

The parliament has authorised the then Mahinda Rajapaksa regime to take over the assets of 37 firms, including two listed companies in 2011 but no official records on the outcome of this initiative were not available at present.

Following the enactment of a new State Asset Management Bill in the government is to set up a central agency for the management of the public assets with the aim of preventing misuse of multiple Government assets over decades.

The new administration has accorded the priority to the management of those assets as it could earn much needed revenue to the state with the introduction of this new Act, especially given the ongoing economic crisis, he added.

The new bill provides provisions to expand the duties of the Comptroller General Office, and establish a comprehensive and definitive legal framework to prepare a national assets register and introduce a central database for State assets.


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