He said so to Sri Lanka Mirror when asked about the 2017 budget plan to earn Rs. 150,000 million through the market sale of shares of several state entities next year.
The proposal has been included by the finance ministry despite repeated assurances by the president that he would not allow the sale of profit-earning institutions.
The ministry plans to sell shares of Hyatt, Grand Oriental, Waters Edge and Hilton hotels and salterns in Hambantota and Manthai.
Pay for high interest loans
The money thus earned will be used to pay for the high interest loans it has obtained.
Further, Parliament is to be told about several other state entities that will be privatized.
The loss-making Mihin Lanka has already been merged with SriLankan Airlines and both will be reformed with private sector involvement.
The UNP leadership has agreed to put off until after the budget for the privatization of the profit-earning Lanka Hospitals.
Accordingly, its name has been dropped from a list of state entities proposed to be sold to the private sector.