The Government yesterday categorically denied speculations on discussions of a possible sale of Sri Lanka Telecom to UK-based Lycamobile.
“There were no discussions on the sale of SOEs at this week’s Cabinet or anything concerning Sri Lanka Telecom,” Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said in response to a query posed by journalists at the post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday. The 2023 Budget proposes to restructure and divest several SOEs which include Sri Lankan Airlines, Sri Lanka Telecom, Colombo Hilton, Waters Edge and Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) SriLankan Airlines.
However, the Trade Unions of Sri Lanka Telecom have called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe to create business-conducive, consistent policies and protect local industries without killing the geese that lay the golden eggs.
Telecommunication Workers’ Union Senior Vice Secretary Jagath Gurusinghe that a series of extensive protests will be held countrywide today urging the Government to scrap the Budget decision of selling Sri Lanka Telecom to foreign investors.
“The institution is like a dowry given to every government that is appointed every five years,” he said at the media briefing on Monday.
He also claimed that the Government is discussing selling the profitable institution at a ridiculously low deal while adding that the agreement poses a threat to national security.
“President Wickremesinghe requires funds in the treasury to remain in power, and therefore he is selling off SOEs to fill up the coffers,” Gurusinghe claimed.
At a recent post-Budget forum, President Wickremesinghe said December is the given timeline for the four or five SOEs to be restructured and divested.