The Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) has informed Fisheries Corporation to propose expeditious action on Rs.600 million outstanding EPF & ETF payments default and Rs.300 million of debt recovery
Also, proposals were called for the restructuring process of the corporation as well.
The committee met under the chairmanship of Hon. Prof. Ranjith Bandara to investigate the Auditor General’s report and the current performance of Ceylon Fisheries Corporation for the year 2019.
There was a lengthy discussion on the issues of the Ceylon Fisheries Corporation and the measures to be taken to make the Corporation a profit-making organization under a public-private partnership.
Accordingly, the following COPE recommendations were given to the Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries R.M.I Ratnayake and the Chairman of Ceylon Fisheries Corporation Chaturanga Udawatta, and other officials.
The Committee pointed out that the current functions of the Fisheries Corporation established in 1965 according to an Act passed in 1957 are different from the objectives of the Act. It was revealed that even though the Act mentions the broad functions of engaging in fishing operations, fish processing, and import and export of fish, only fish trading is happening today.
The COPE chairman pointed out that a government corporation is unnecessary to carry out only fish trade and therefore the role of the Fisheries Corporation should be expanded and it should become profitable. The COPE chair also pointed out that the Act should be amended or new objectives should be moved forward.
Although the Fisheries Corporation had the opportunity to provide local fish species for the diet of the hospitals, the committee’s attention was also focused on the supply of imported ‘Sail fish’ (Thalapath) species instead. Accordingly, the COPE Chairman advised the Fisheries Corporation to look into the matter and notify within two weeks about the possibility of using a substitute species of local fish instead of the imported fish supplied to the hospitals.