The state owned sugar companies at Sevenagala and Pelwatte will resume operations on March 5 after the take-over from private ownership, Productivity Promotion Minister Lakshman Seneviratne said today.
Minister Seneviratne after paying an inspection tour to the two sugar factories vowed that the loss making ventures would be turned into viable commercial establishments and therefore, the assistance and dedication of 7,000 workforce is extremely vital.
“We do not expect to produce arrack at these factories like the previous management had done. It is a crime if we refrain from producing sugar as Sri Lanka spends Rs.40 billion annually to import sugar. It is only 5 per cent of the total requirement,” Minister Seneviratne stressed.
The two sugar companies are in safe hands and would do everything possible to minimise the effects of ill treatment by the previous administration, he said.
Minister Seneviratne charged that the damage caused to the two sugar companies by private owners were colossal. The fertiliser provided to sugar cane farmers were of low quality and that has affected the quality and the harvest. 10 per cent of the shares of the two companies have been robbed, he added.
The private owners have produced arrack instead of sugar as it brings a huge profit. Employees and sugar cane farmers must be determined to improve the production capacity of the two factories as the world is to confront another economic, financial and fuel crisis in the near future.
“The prices of fuel and essential commodities like sugar will rise in a global economic crisis and we must be prepared to confront it in the same way we faced the global economic meltdown in 2008. Therefore, the employees of Sevanagala and Pelwatte have an added responsibility to work and with a commitment to increase the production capacity of sugar and the government will provide all assistance to them, Minister Seneviratne stressed. (Sandun A. Jayasekera)