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Most Sri Lankans believe government-run companies are not working- Advocata

Eighty-one per cent of Sri Lankans do not believe that the loss incurring State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) can be justified in comparison to the services they provide, according to a public opinion poll conducted by Advocata Institute, a Colombo based free-market think tank.

The door-to-door opinion poll conducted earlier this year has covered the views of 855 respondents in eight provinces of Sri Lanka.

Issuing a statement this afternoon (12), the Advocata Institute noted that only the respondents from the Central Province were more likely to believe that the services provided by SOEs justified the losses with 39 per cent holding the opinion.

‘The poll found no significant differences among income, gender or socio-economic groups. Respondents from the Central Province were more likely to believe that the services provided justified losses, with 39% holding this opinion. Those from the Southern and Western Provinces were least likely to believe that the services justified losses, with only 6% from the Southern Province and 12% from the Western Province saying the losses were justified,’ the statement said.

The poll covered the Western, Southern, Central, North Western, North Central, Sabaragamuwa, Eastern and Northern provinces.

The statement further noted that the SOEs are also vulnerable to mismanagement and corruption.

‘A recent report by the Advocata Institute “The State of State Enterprises in Sri Lanka – 2019” highlighted that SOEs are vulnerable to mismanagement and corruption because of potential conflicts between the ownership and policy-making functions of the government, and undue political influence on their policies, appointments, and business practices.

That report recommended that the government actively engage in strengthening SOEs and their service delivery by compiling a comprehensive list of all SOEs and setting basic reporting procedures; strengthening COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) and COPA (Committee on Public Accounts), and implementing the internationally accepted principles of Corporate Governance,’ the statement added.

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