Following is a statement National Agency for Public Private Partnerships Chairman Thilan Wijesinghe has sent to Mirror Business following our story titled ‘Whither good governance? Government’s PPP boss throws media out of top forum,’ which appeared on September 29th.
I refer to the news story on page 1 on ‘Mirror Business’ titled ‘Whither good governance? Government’s PPP boss throws media out of top forum.’
Kindly note that I had no intention of snubbing the media in any way during the address to the Sri Lanka Italy Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce last week and I did not personally ask the media to leave.
I agreed to participate at this event upon being on the presumption that this would be a closed door private event.
This was a continuation of several closed-door sessions I have had with the private and state sector to understand issues impacting PPPs, and thereby being in a position to better articulate policy decisions for implementation.
As I have held the office of Chairman, National Agency for Public Private Partnerships (NAPPP), less than 2 months, I have been of the opinion that such interactions would best be held as closed-door sessions.
Therefore, it is possible that there was some miscommunication between the Business Council and the Chamber of Commerce, resulting in the media being invited inadvertently. I very much regret the inconvenience caused when as I was made to understand the Business Council officers asked the media to leave the room prior to my speech and ensuing deliberations. Note that I gave the Business Council a choice on a change to the format of the event if the media remained and it was decided that a more interactive, no holds barred interactive discussion would be best, as envisaged originally, without the media.
I am wholly in agreement with what was written in your news/opinion article about market equitability, symmetry and transparency; but the NAPPP is at its infancy and its scope yet to be debated and approved by higher echelons of Government. We are still at the stage of stakeholder discussions.
At this time, I am not ready to give concrete statements, especially in considering that the NAPPP does not have any staff at the moment. I will likely be in a position to do so after the budget speech on 9th November on relevant areas that would have been discussed and agreed by the Ministry of Finance.
I would like to once again reiterate that I had no intention of snubbing the media in any way; I had assumed that the event would not have any media invitees, particularly as many of the proposed plans of the NAPPP are at a preliminary stage pending required approvals and the final decision of opting to have a closed door meeting was made by the organizers of the event.