Written by Staff Writer
21 Aug, 2019 | 8:17 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) -Committee on Public Enterprises or COPE revealed that SriLankan Airlines has incurred an operational loss of Rs 116 bn today(August 21). The total loss incurred by SriLankan Airlines from 2009 to 2019 sums up to Rs 240bn.
The COPE report on procuring aircraft was presented in parliament today and it was debated by several political figures.
MP Sunil Handunnetti, Chairman of the COPE requested a debate in the parliament as the government and the public had to suffer massive losses in procuring aircraft and terminating agreements.
Minister Lakshman Kiriella, Leader of the House shared that during his brief tenure in charge of the SriLankan Airlines he realized who had signed those unavoidable agreements and a debate in the parliament would reveal the perpetrators.
Mahinda Amaraweera, Chief Opposition Whip noted that the reports expose the corrupt conduct of both present and previous governments.
UPFA MP, Dayasiri Jayasekara stated that losses at SriLankan Airlines have increased from Rs 12bn to Rs40bn since the year 2015.
He added that SriLankan Airlines had to suffer an additional US$ 5mn loss following the April 21st attacks due to the concessions provided to tourists. He added that the cabinet paper for the program was submitted by the Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement & Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs and he assumed that no one was aware of this cabinet paper.
He went on to note that continuous losses at SriLanka Airlines were the result of lack of a proper business strategy and added that between 2015 and 2018 Sri Lankan has paid Rs 247.1 mn to a company named SEIRA to formulate a comprehensive business plan while SriLankan Airlines was facing a financial crisis of over US$ 1bn.
He finally revealed that the government’s last resort to solve the financial crisis at SriLankan Airlines was to privatize it.
Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister of Finance rose to respond to MP Dayasiri Jayasekara and noted that the Airlines will suffer the US$ 5mn loss and the government will have to bear the loss.
The Minister, however, denied MP Dayasiri Jayasekara’s statement and noted that the government has no notion of selling the SriLankan Airlines for Rs 225mn and they have already set two strategies in motion to bring the airline out of the woods.
He noted that an operational plan is in place and it would be implemented by the Executive Board of the Airlines.
He added that no changes were made to the Executive Board and would be carried out in the future. He confidently shared that it would be executed in total transparency.
He added that the Ministry of Finance is representing the government in this matter and would come up with the plan.
He finally shared that “We need the shareholder’s plan at this point, not the plan of the management team”.
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