ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapapksa has appointed a de-regulation commission headed by Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga and Chairman of John Keells Group KrishanBalendra, which could potentially boost growth and bring down corruption.
The 18-member committee has been asked to simplify existing laws and regulations.
President Rajapaksa had publicly declared his intention to cut red tape soon after he was elected. On December 10 at a meeting with businessmen he asked them suggest ways to cut red tape.
Sri Lanka however has seen an uptick in regulations with import controls, exchange controls and price controls being racheted up.
01. Review all laws, regulations and circular instructions pertaining to Government finance, revenue laws and circular instructions, licensing and permit arrangements, investments, approvals and building permits etc., and how those regulations and circular instructions have evolved and circumstances influencing such regulations.
02. Assess as to whether the issuance of regulations and circular instructions has resulted in over regulation and deviated from the scope and objectives of original legislations.
03. Assess the relevance of them in the context of global standards and applicability of them in the Sri Lankan context to identify new rooms to adopt to make the most effective modern regulatory systems.
04. Assess the cost of enforcement to the state, compliance cost to the people and potentials for corruption and irregular practices associated with complex and over regulatory systems.
Regulations, including ‘minister’s concurrence’ delay economic activities and also provide opportunities for corruption as economic agents try to bribe public service officers to circumvent regulations.
Others such as price controls, disrupts price signals and makes even law abiding people into law breakers, critics say.
The 1970s closed economy has been blamed by some critics for initiating the decline in the Sri Lanka’s once respected public service.
De-regulation could radically alter economic growth and bring down corruption, analysts say.
The 18-member commission will be co-chaired by Weeratunga and Balendra.
1. S.D.A.B. Boralessa – Secretary, State Ministry of Land Management, State Enterprises Land and Property Development
2. M.M.C. Ferdinando – Retired Ministry Secretary, Power sector
3. Suresh de Mel – Chairman, Export Development Board
4. C. Weligamage – Director General, Department of Public Finance
5. Chandana Kumarasinghe – Director General of Establishments, Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government
6. Harsha Cabral – Company Law expert
7. Nihal Jayawardana – President’s Counsel
8. ThishanSubashinghe – Chartered Accountant of Sri Lanka
9. RanjithGunathilake – Chief Executive Officer, Sanken Constructions (Private) Limited
10. RenukaWeerakoon – Executive Director, Board of Investments of Sri Lanka
11. Gerard Ondaatjie – Board of Director, Mercantile Investments and Finance PLC
12. Arjun Fernando – Non-Executive Director, Nations Trust Bank
13. S.P. Liyanarachchi- SME Construction Sector
14. AnslemPerera – Managing Director, Mlesna Tea
15. NissankaWijeratna – Secretary General/ Chief Executive Officer, Chamber of Construction Industry
16. Chandra Wickremasinghe – Chairman/ Director General, Theme Resorts and Spas
The tasks of the Commission cover the following.