ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lankan government plans to set up a monitoring agency to closely supervise the work of regional plantations companies (RPCs) whose performance is considered to be weak, Minister of Plantation Industries Naveen Dissanayake said.
“Especially for, RPCs we have to have a monitoring system in place,” he told a news conference.
Tea production by RPCs had fallen to 32% of the total crop with the bulk of output now from small holders and private factories, a reversal of the situation 25 years ago when estates were privatised, he said.
Dissanayake said that since production and prices had recovered last year, he hoped to focus on improving the industry this year, including tackling structural challenges.
“To handle the structural challenges in RPCs we will set up a monitoring agency in partnership with RPCs,” he said.
“After privatisation in 1992, we feel that there are loopholes in monitoring by government since yields and production in RPCs have come down. Some RPCs have done a lot of work – some have invested.
But other were weak, according to performance reports provided by visiting agents sent by the ministry over the past year and a half, he said.
“The ones that are falling behind, we have to monitor closely and take stern action against them,” he said.
There had been cases where there had been transfer of funds from companies within a group, he said.
“We are putting minimum guidelines – where RPCs and government agree on a certain framework to protect the assets.”
(COLOMBO, January 24, 2018)