The Sri Lanka Tea Board has gazzetted a vacancy for a Working Director and it is learnt that some in the industry have actively been involved in the creation of such a space with the motive of buying over a large share of the RPCs, if and when they are offered for sale.
Certain parties with vested interests have a need to appoint an official to the SLTB in a bid to ensure they could obtain a lump share in the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) if and when some of the failed or poorly performing companies are asked to go, informed sources said.
It is learnt that powerful interests in the private sector already engaged in the plantations are believed to be behind the creation of this new position. These interests have already expressed interest to certain authorities in taking over all of these RPCs which would likely create a monopoly within the industry.
Plantations Minister Navin Dissanayake is expected to appoint a Working Director for a period of three years. The Minister has followed proper procedure in the creation of the new position, the board's recently appointed Chairman Lucille Wijewardena told the Business Times on Thursday.
He noted that this position has been discussed for quite some time in the past although "nothing has been done so far."
However, it has been found that even at the last board meeting there had been no mention of the appointment of such an official to the board.
"The existing board is already vested with the authority to promote tea within and outside Sri Lanka," one industry source said adding that in this context, there was no reason to create a new position.
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