Mass Media Minister promises to probe ITN losses since 2016

ITN Sri Lanka

Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told Parliament yesterday that the Independent Television Network had been a loss-making institute since 2016.

Responding to a question raised by SJB Ratnapura District MP Hesha Withanage, the Minister said that there had been reports on various malpractices at the ITN and allegations would be investigated and legal action taken against those responsible for turning the institute into a loss-making enterprise.

The Minister said that the ITN made profits of Rs 495.32 million in 2010, Rs 682 million in 2011, Rs 799 million in 2012, Rs 847.24 million in 2014, Rs 638 million in 2015. However, since 2016 the institution had been making losses. The ITN made losses to the tune of Rs 69 million in 2016, Rs 287.25 million in 2017, Rs 622 million in 2018 and Rs 597 million in 2019. In 2020, the ITN had suffered a loss of Rs 320 million, the Minister said.

Since 2015, the ITN had recruited 139 employees and their names, addresses and educational qualifications would be tabled in Parliament, the Minister said.

Minister Rambukwella said that up to 2015 the ITN had been earning profits and as at the end of that year it had Rs 2.7 billion in its fixed deposit. In 2014, the ITN had been able to give bonus to 694 employees. But owing to mismanagement and irregularities the ITN had now accumulated debts to the tune of Rs 500 million. The ITN had continuously obtained funds from the Treasury to maintain its services for the past five years. During that period the ITN had recruited 13 consultants and seven Chairmen.

The incumbent management had taken action to bring in resource persons without considering their political backgrounds, the Minister said.

(Source: The Island – By Saman Indrajith)