Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s proposal and the UNF government’s attempt to change the existing laws to facilitate modern requirements in goods exchange and naval trade and break the monopoly in the naval trade, has been vehemently opposed by several parties within the government, reports say.
This has caused the Finance Minister disgruntlement, according to internal sources.
The proposals in his 2018 budget to pave the way for foreign investment into the naval industry and develop it and appoint an independent ports regulator, has been challenged by two companies involved in the naval trade and have spent a fortune in order to create opposition from within the government.
The former Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe had also vehemently opposed Samaraweera’s proposal.
'Lanka News Web' had earlier reported that two companies dominating the naval trade is initiating political pressure against the efforts taken by the government to demolish this monopoly.
The website further stated that both of these companies had been closely involved with the former Rajapaksa regime and had funded their political campaigns.
Now an UNF government!
However, in presenting the budget 2019, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera referred to the budget proposals as the first ‘UNF’ budget.
He also referred to the budget 2019 as the ‘first UNP budget’ during a media briefing held at the Finance Ministry yesterday.
He further said, “Now there is no one within the government to oppose the measures taken by the government to bring down the monopoly by just a few in the naval and shipping trade. This is now a United National Front Government.”
These companies engaged in the monopoly of the naval trade, is said to have pumped millions of dollars into the political campaigns of several leading political parties in the country.
Marikkar to the fore against the mafia!
Meanwhile, MP- S.M. Marikkar said that as the naval trade is dominated and monopolised by only two companies, it should definitely be opened out to others and this monopoly should be broken.
He noted that his ;party would give their fullest support to the proposal brought forward by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera in his budget to open up the naval trade to foreign investors and establish an independent ports regulator.
Marikkar noted that it was the government’s stance to relax the ocean trade industry and develop the business sector.
(Sri Lanka Mirror)