Sri Lankan Airlines was (re) nationalized in 2008. Photo by caribb.
The government is pushing through a bill to make them able to take over ‘under-performing’ assets. It looks like they’ll use this to first take over the Ceylinco Celestial Residencies project. What property/business has the government taken over in the past?
This is just off the top of my head.
The Daily News and Sunday Observer used to be owned by the same family that now runs the Daily Mirror and the Sunday Times. In 1973 the government shoved through a bill to essentially take over their property which I and others think was whack. The modern Daily News and Observer are really quite bad, at best, and malicious at worst.
Sri Lankan Airlines
Sri Lankan Airlines was losing money for a while, then control was given to Emirates, when it started making money again. Then Mahinda was unable to bump 30 people from a flight to fit his entourage and got pissed. The CEO’s work visa was not renewed, Emirates said forget this, and Sri Lankan went back to government control. Now, thanks muchly to the money-bleeding Mihin Lanka pet project, Sri Lankan is losing money again.
Not petrol, but Shell’s natural (cooking) gas company was bought by the government. It’s now called Litro. The main competitor Laugfs used to get 100% of government refinery output, reduced to 30% once the government got its own distributor. After an appeal to the President, they later got 50%.
Under PM Srimavo Bandaranaike, the government took over any property over 20 acres for redistribution to landless peasants, or for state control. More recently, they’ve taken over / bought out land for the Hambantota Port and various infrastructure and highway projects.
This is only the stuff I can think of off the top of my head. People object to the government taking over anything in the due process sense, but if it makes stuff better I’m not entirely opposed. It’s just that government take overs often don’t make things better at all. Land reform is I think within the usual ambit of governance, for better or worse, but the government really shouldn’t be running newspaper or airlines. The former because they suck and the latter because they’re bleeding money.
Honestly, if the government is looking for under-performing assets, they could start with things they already own – like the Ceylon Electricity Board (losing per 167 million a day) or Sri Lanka Railways (losing about 7.79 million per day). I mean, perhaps there should be a provision for under-performing assets to go public if the state can’t run them.