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Sri Lanka to conclude most SOE sales by August; Srilankan by Sept

Sri Lanka's government-led State-Owned Enterprises Restructuring Unit (SOERU) is striving to conclude divestiture transactions for a range of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), including Hotel Developers Lanka Ltd, Canwill Holdings Pvt Ltd, Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, Litro Gas, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Life Ltd., Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation General Ltd., and Srilankan Airlines, by August 2024. Despite the urgency driven by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to mitigate losses, progress has been hindered by resistance from political factions and trade unions, delaying the reform process. The establishment of a 100% state-owned Holding Company is pivotal to these reforms, aimed at enhancing governance, financial discipline, and efficiency within SOEs, thereby releasing resources for essential public services like education and healthcare.

The SOERU's ambitious timeline aims to wrap up most divestiture transactions by August 2024, with the exception of Srilankan Airlines, projected for completion by September. Despite the pressing need underscored by the IMF to revamp the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) landscape to curtail losses, political opposition and trade union resistance have impeded progress, prolonging the reform process. At the heart of these reforms lies the establishment of a state-owned Holding Company, envisaged to bolster governance, financial prudence, and operational efficiency within SOEs, ultimately redirecting funds towards critical public services such as education and healthcare.

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