The Prime Minister’s office has issued a directive to officials concerned to make a request from Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang to formally recommend on the interested investors to the Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee in writing for awarding project contracts.
The government has insisted that converting debt into equity is an agreed policy of the state by the President and it is necessary to give priority to this aspect in selecting a party.
Sri Lanka has requested China to swap some of the US$8 billion it owes that country for equity in infrastructure projects and offered to sell stakes in its companies to Chinese firms.
Further instructions were given to initially negotiate with the Chinese investor to hand over the management of the Mattala Airport.
If the terms and conditions of the Chinese investor are not satisfactory, the other proposals received as per the Expressions of Interests called by the Transport Ministry for the airport will be evaluated, officials said.
The Hambantota Development project would consist of the establishment of oil refineries, a power generation plant and industrial zones in 1500 acre land area in Hambantota.
The Kandy–Colombo–Hambantota Corridor is to reshape the country’s urban landscape with two airports and two seaports.
The government’s aim is to bring down the current debt by inviting Chinese companies or Chinese investors to take over the some of the state-owned enterprises, with a view to taking at least part of that equity over.
Minister Malik Samarawickrema has been talking with some Chinese companies and also the government of China about the possibility of forming public-private partnerships, in which part of the debt will become equity held by the Chinese companies.
The country’s third port is to be built in Trincomalee. The government had entered into agreements with Singapore’s leading consultancy firm, Surbana Jurong Private Limited, to prepare a master plan for Trincomalee based on shipping, manufacturing and tourism, official sources said.
The area of 175 km to the south of Trincomalee would also be developed as high-end tourist resorts, the plan is to improve infrastructure for high-value tourism and the further develop the up country as well.
The government will also implement offshore projects such as yachting and cruises — stretching from the Northern Province to the historic Galle city in the South.