Turning loss-making State enterprises into thriving
Remarkable progress in two years - Minister Dayasritha Tissera
Minister Tissera inspects mineral deposits in Pulmudai
Lanka Phosphate Eppawala.
When President Mahinda Rajapaksa, set up State Resource and
Enterprise Development Ministry almost two years ago, a heavy burden was
cast on the Ministry to transform those 26 institutions which had
earlier been reputed State institutions that had undergone ups and downs
under different governments, into thriving enterprises.
It had to undertake the responsibility to minimise the losses in the
institutions, transform profit making institutions into lucrative
ventures and to transform the institution that can be changed into
profit making institutes introducing new managements.
Dayasritha Tissera, a novice to the Cabinet in 2010, had to undertake
this responsibility along with his Ministry staff, on behalf of the
Government when the opposition was focusing their eyes on these
enterprises which were in the process of collapsing after becoming a
burden to the Government.
Today after two years of hard work Minister Dayasritha Tissera is
talking in a satisfied tone about the measures his Ministry had taken to
make these State enterprises moving ones that can contribute at least on
a small scale to the national economy. “We have done many things to
bring those institutions to the present State and we have to do a lot
more in the future”, Minister Dayasritha Tissera said. “When we took
over this Ministry we had to obtain funds from the Treasury to run these
institutions on a monthly basis. Now we are not obtaining funds from the
Treasury to run these institutions. We have made plans to make use of
the profits made by certain institutions under our Ministry to
strengthen the loss making institutions under our Ministry.
The Cabinet has given approval for this process and the State
Management Corporation was established with that objective”, he added.
Accordingly, we were able to compensate the workers of the Ceramic
Corporation after obtaining Rs. 500 million from the Pulmudai Mineral
Sands Company which is the highest profit making institution under him.
The Mineral Sands Company which is one of the important institutions
under the Ministry, has now been transformed into an institute that
earned a profit of Rs. 1,530 million in the year 2011.
“When our Ministry took over, it was making a profit of Rs. 220
million and within the past one and half years we have been able to
increase that profit to Rs. 1,530. “We are planning to set up new
machinery worth US$ 70 million in the Pulmoddai Mineral Sands Company to
increase its production capacity”, he added.
State Resources and Enterprise Development Minister Dayasritha
Tissera has said that the increase in profits was due to the end of the
war and the Company’s open tender policy.
The Company currently exports mineral sand to Russia, Japan, US and
the UK and is to venture into value added export products. At the same
time, the Ministry has also taken the initiative to increase the
capacity of the Lanka Phosphate Limited, Eppawala, after installing new
machinery at a cost of Rs.56 million.
“We are making use of new technology to produce di-ammonia phosphate
and tri-super phosphate at the Lanka Phosphate Limited at Eppawala. The
newly established fertiliser plant will commence work soon to expand its
“It is expected to produce 200 metric tons of fertiliser per day. The
new machine has a capacity to manufacture 10 metric tons in one hour
compared to the old machine which manufactured five mt per hour.
It is not enough to meet the total requirement of fertiliser,” the
Minister said. According to the Minister, the annual phosphate
requirement of the country is 75,000 metric tons and the new fertiliser
plant will meet the total requirement and help the country save Rs.20
billion spent to import fertiliser annually. Lanka Cement Corporation
has also undergone tremendous progress during the past two years with
the new measures introduced by the Ministry to improve their production
“With regard to the cement industry what we are doing at present is
to import cement bags and release them to the market. We have made plans
to import cement in bulk form and bag them in Sri Lanka and release them
to the market. Step by step we are going to restart the cement
production in the country specially at the Kankesanthurai factory”, the
The Lanka Cement Corporation is also manufacturing block stones and
cement blocks to be used for repairing activities of roads. Lanka
Ceramic Corporation which also had a series of issues has also restarted
its manufacturing process after the Ministry took the initiative to
resolve a lot of problems of the workers. “With the collaboration of the
Sri Lanka Army and the Civil Defence Force we have restarted the tile
and bricks production at these factories”, the Minister said.
The Valachchenai Paper Factory has also started contributing towards
the national paper requirement producing over 130 metric tonnes of paper
during the month of May.
“In 2009, this factory had produced only 30 metric tonnes of paper
per month. At present, it has increased by three to four times.
Presently, the administration is having the ability to pay the salaries
of its employees and electricity bills from its own income”, the
“Currently, ninety five percent of the total national paper
requirement is met by imported paper and we are planning to produce more
paper, with the aim of increasing the monthly paper production of the
Valachchenai Paper Factory up to 200 metric tonnes and up to 500 metric
tonnes within one year.
The ministry aims to produce more paper stocks which would be
sufficient to cover the paper requirements of the country”, the Minister
said. The plantation sector institutions under the State Resource and
Enterprise Development Ministry is also changing for the better as they
are undergoing a restructuring process under the Ministry.
“If we consider National Estate Development Board and State
Plantations Corporation and Elkaduwa plantation, they are undergoing new
reforms and we are now in the process of minimising the losses incurred
by these institutes to minimise the burden on the government”, the
Minister said. Even the BCC Lanka Limited also was restructured for
better income generation and it has now become a profit generating
entity. There are some ventures we are still searching investors and
Kantale Sugar Factory is one such entity. “Now we are in the process of
searching an investor for the Kanatale sugar factory we will be able to
finalise the process very soon”, he said.
When transforming those institutions into thriving business ventures,
the Ministry had to resolve a lot of workers’ issues.
“We have taken steps to resolve major issues with regard to the
workers attached to Lanka Paper Mills and Lanka Ceramic Corporation.
Even for Salusala and Laksala we are in the process of solving issues of
the workers step by step by paying compensation for those who volunteer
to retire and to obtain the service of the workers who are not willing
to retire under voluntary retirement schemes”, the Minister said.
“We are continuing all these processes in a very transparent manner
after. We are giving these institutions for investors under management
agreements after clear valuation by the government valuers. We are
adopting very transparent process with the involvement of the Finance
Ministry and other relevant Ministries. We are taking decisions with
regard to selecting the investors for these institutions after
appointing committees to select the investors”, the Minister said.
“Therefore, there is no possibility of taking wrong decisions in this
process. We are giving these institutions under management agreements
and under that we make sure that the government also can charge an
annual tax from these investors”, the Minister added.
“At the same time we have gone beyond the value of the government
valuer when handing over these institutions for investors as we go for
investors offering the highest bid for these institutions. So far we
have been successful in the process”, the Minister remarked.
“Therefore, I am confident that our Ministry, within the past two
years has been able to render an exemplary service to revive all
institutions which have been cast on us”, Minister Tissera said.