Sri Lanka should overhaul state agencies, give easy services to public: PM

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has to overhaul state agencies so that public would be able to get services and approvals from the state more easily in a new administration, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

A three year law would be brought to restructure state agencies so that the public can get state services from fewer places, he told an economic policy forum organized by Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

"How many organizations do we have supporting exports? And how much do we export? Wickremesinghe questioned.

"How many agencies are promoting investments? What are the investments we have? So these are serious questions."

He said a development special provisions which will be effective for three years will "cut through red tape."

Analysts say many laws in Sri Lanka have clauses requiring ‘minister’s concurrence’ which give discretion to the elected ruling class to delay approval and get bribes from the people.

Such provisions have to be removed bringing freedom to people, and any person who can satisfy any criteria set in a law should be automatically eligible to receive the approval or service.

Wickremesinghe said the practice of going to the government for approval for everything had to end. Even to put up a building money had to pass.

Wickremesinghe said several large economic development areas would be set up where the cost of providing infrastructure would be lower and pollution could be controlled more easily and the environment protected.

There would be two large zones from Kuliyapitiya to Divulapitiya and another around Horana to Avissawella. A logistics zone will link up the Colombo port and airport.

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A specially legislated financial zone would also be set up. (Colombo/Aug04/2015)

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