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* Sri Lanka PM says Hambantota Port deal will be signed tomorrow
Fri, Jul 28, 2017, 08:38 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

July 28, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the Concession Agreement on Hambantota Port with the China Merchants Port Holdings Company would be signed tomorrow (29th July).

The Premier said the Concession agreement has been revised to be more beneficial to Sri Lanka.

"We will sign the Hambantota agreement tomorrow...We are giving the country a better deal without debt," he said.

The Premier said the agreement was presented to the Parliament today and got the approval but, the Joint Opposition fled without joining the debate held at the Parliament today. He further added that they didn't join the debate as they had nothing to say about the agreement.

Sri Lanka's cabinet on Tuesday approved the deal to lease the loss-making Hambantota Port to the State-owned Chinese conglomerate for US$ 1.12 billion. Under the agreement Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) as the public partner and China Merchant Port Holdings as the private partner will establish the several companies to implement the agreement.

The previous government took a $8 billion loan from the Chinese to build the port - a commercial failure which does not even generate enough revenue to pay staff salaries - and other infrastructure.

The new government, which came to power in January 2015, has been trying to renegotiate the terms of the loan.

The agreement will be signed at the Ports and Shipping Ministry auditorium tomorrow (29) at 9.30 am.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Port and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Ministers, Dr. Sarath Amunugama, Arjuna Ranatunga, Malik Samarawickrama, Deputy Minister Nishantha Mutuhettigama and Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang will also be present at the signing of the agreement.


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