plantation privatisation to continue
privatisation of plantation firms already in the pipeline such as
Elkaduwa Plantations will continue but remaining assets will not
be divested but be improved instead, Minister of Plantation Industries
Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said.
government's policy is to improve quality and productivity in the
plantations sector and introduce better management techniques,"
he said in an interview.
government and private sector will work together."
will be made to protect domestic industries such as coconut oil
millers, he also said.
said he plans to visit Russia with Trade Minister Jeyaraj Fernandopulle
to discuss with their Russian counterparts a sharp import tariff
hike which has reduced exports of Ceylon tea.
held talks with the Russian envoy in Colombo last week at which
the issue was taken up.
are very concerned as Russia is the biggest market for Ceylon tea,"
20 percent import tariff hike by Russia has reduced exports of value
added Ceylon teas to 30 percent from 90 percent between 1996 and
government will encourage new plantings and replanting to replace
senile tea, rubber and coconut plantation holdings.
management will be introduced in state sector organisations such
as the government-owned plantations companies and organisations
like the Tea Board and Tea Small Holders Development Authority to
make them more efficient, Yapa said.
also will make maximum use of the cess on exports to help small
holders and, if necessary, increase existing subsidy schemes."
State Plantations Corporation and the Janatha Estates Development
Board will not be privatised he said, adding that previous efforts
to sell them failed because of their poor condition.
they will be placed under new management and their performance improved.
he said the planned divestiture of 51 percent of the shares of Elkaduwa
Plantations by the Public Enterprises Reform Commission would go
government negotiating committee is currently negotiating with the
only bidder for EPL which is East West Properties Limited.
about opposition to edible oil imports and a proposed Indian edible
oil processing plant using imported raw material, Yapa acknowledged
the need to maintain high enough import tariffs to protect local
coconut oil industry needs to be improved. We're happy with the
existing tariff rate. We are against lowering it," he said.
must find a balance between the needs of the desiccated coconut
industry and coconut oil millers."
about efforts to revive the tea machinery manufacturing industry,
Yapa said the government will make an effort to protect local industry
while honouring commitments under the liberal economic policy and
free trade deals with other countries.
agree in principal that we need to help local manufacturing industry.
We have no intention of destroying our industries."
owned by the Coconut Cultivation Board and the Coconut Research
Institute, slated to be handed over to the private sector for building
factories, have been taken back and will be used for research and
land will not be divested in future, Yapa said.