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Professor Rohan Samarajiva, the founding Chair of LIRNEasia, an ICT policy and regulation think tank active across emerging Asia, said that there are many countries in the world where the telecom industry is 100% privately owned, and that privatizing Sri Lanka Telecom would not pose a threat to national security.

Prof. Samarajiva criticized the Sectoral Oversight Committee’s report on National Security in an interview on the President’s Media Division’s ‘101 Katha’ program. He pointed out that countries like the UK, USA, Australia, and India have 100% privately owned telecom sectors, and that even in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the majority of telecom services are provided by private companies.

Prof. Samarajiva said that the argument that privatizing Sri Lanka Telecom would pose a threat to national security is baseless, and that it is being used for political reasons. He recalled that a similar argument was used in 1989, when the government decided not to privatize Sri Lanka Telecom, and that this led to the telecom sector becoming a monopoly, with people having to wait years to get landlines and hours to make long-distance calls.

Prof. Samarajivasaid that the government should not bow to pressure from those who are opposed to privatization, and that privatizing Sri Lanka Telecom would be in the best interests of the country.

Here are some additional points that Samarajiva made:

  • Privatization would lead to increased competition in the telecom sector, which would benefit consumers by driving down prices and improving services.
  • Privatization would bring in new investment into the telecom sector, which would help to create jobs and boost economic growth.
  • Privatization would allow Sri Lanka Telecom to benefit from the latest technology and best practices, which would improve its efficiency and competitiveness.

He concluded by saying that privatization is the best way to modernize the telecom sector and make it more efficient, competitive, and responsive to the needs of consumers.