JVP stymies privatization

Barry Stoller bstoller at utopia2000.org
Tue Sep 4 06:12:15 MDT 2001


AFP. 4 September 2001. Sri Lanka political deal to stop privatisation.

COLOMBO -- Sri Lanka's government has halted privatisation for a year
and agreed to make no further commitments to international lenders, the
ruling party's new Marxist ally announced Tuesday.

The leftist JVP, or People's Liberation Front, said the government
assured it that there would be no sell-offs of state enterprise and that
it would halt a fresh agreement with the International Monetary Fund
(IMF).

JVP legislator Wimal Weerawansa said the party has made it clear that
the government should not divest the balance of state-owned shares in
Sri Lanka Telecom which is fully controlled and partly owned by NTT of
Japan.

"It is clear. There can be no further sale of Telecom shares during the
one-year probationary period to which we have confined the government,"
Weerawansa said.

Sri Lanka has already pledged to the IMF that it would raise 275 million
dollars by way of privatisation receipts before December and the bulk of
that money was to come from SriLanka Telecom shares.

Asked how the government could meet its expenditure without the Telecom
sale, Weerawansa said: "You have to ask that from the government."

Weerawansa also ruled out the government entering a new letter of intent
as suggested by an IMF mission.

The IMF team last month refused to conclude its review of the economy
and grant a further tranche of 30 million dollars without a new
agreement.

The IMF agreed to release 253 million dollars over a period of 14 months
subject to stringent conditions.

The JVP said it was also forcing the government to introduce
labour-friendly laws to ensure that the rights of workers were upheld
and there was no interference with trade union activities.

The private sector has accused the JVP of instigating work stoppages.

The government had agreed that its next budget for 2002, due by
November, will include "people-friendly" proposals of the JVP, the party
said.

Among the key demands the JVP had been pressing for is a writing off of
millions of rupees given as loans to rural farmers.


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Barry Stoller
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ProletarianNews




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