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Join date : 2014-02-28
Promising the critics an opportunity to debate the agreement, the Minister said: “This project will be a great leap forward when it comes to the development of the country.
It will lay the foundation to convert the Hambantota Port into a profit-making venture while generating thousands of employment opportunities for the youth.”
The Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port is built inland and operated by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The first phase of the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port was opened on 18 November 2010. The total estimated construction cost of the Phase 1 of the project is $ 361 million, out of which 85% has been funded by the EXIM Bank of the People’s Republic of China.
The port is expected to serve ships travelling along the East-West shipping route which passes six to 10 nautical miles (19 km) south of Hambantota. However, the port incurred heavy losses, making debt repayment an issue as a result, and in 2016, 80% was leased to China Merchants Ports holding company in a debt-for-equity swap.
Citing unsuccessful projects launched during the Rajapaksa regime, the Minister said: “We have already filed court cases pertaining to Rs. 3.1 billion worth of money and property belonging to three members of the Rajapaksa family. These include land, houses and black money invested in various purposes.”
Minister Samaraweera explaining the country’s debt crisis said: “This year alone, we need $ 2,805 million to repay loans and interest; loans obtained during the Rajapaksa regime account for 72% of that sum. The peak of debt crisis will be from 2018-2020. In 2019, we have to find $ 4,245 million (Rs.3.2 trillion) to service foreign debt and loans obtained during the Rajapaksa regime account for 82% of that sum. However, the total annual revenue of the country is little over Rs. 1 trillion.” (AH)