Sri Lanka govt ‘crowding out’ pvt sector: NCE chief

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s private sector faces difficulties in getting the required financial and human resources given heavy government borrowing and recruitment, a top export trade official said.

Sarada de Silva, President of the National Chamber of Exporters (NCE), said public sector reforms were important to ensure strong economic growth.

Workers show a marked preference for state sector jobs, making it difficult for private firms to hire the labour they require, he told the NCE’s annual general meeting where he was re-elected for a second term.

“Public enterprise development is important, particularly those in relation to exporters which provide services to exporters like banks,” de Silva said.

“In the past few years government sector institutions have crowed out the private sector, whether it is in financial resources or human capital,” he said.

“We found it difficult to get the required human capital because everyone wanted government jobs.”

He was referring to the practice by politicians of successive ruling parties to hire their supporters in droves to government institutions, a form of patronage that makes labour seek state employment which assures effective lifetime jobs and pensions.

Heavy borrowing by the government to bridge persistent budget deficits also raises the cost of funding for private firms.  (Colombo/January 16, 2016)

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