No investment will infringe country’s sovereignty and independence
SLPA to manage after investment
Trade Unions too have the opportunity to submit proposals
Jan 13, Colombo: President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Wednesday assured representatives of Port Trade Unions that the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port will not be sold or leased, President’s Media Division said.
During a discussion held today (13) at the Presidential Secretariat with the representative of the trade unions at their request, President Rajapaksa told the unions that following negotiations with India on the contract it was possible to reach an agreement to retain 51% of the ownership and the control of the Terminal under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).
President emphasized that he would not allow causing any harm to the sovereignty or independence of the country when investments are arranged.
Under the previous administration’s agreement signed with governments of India and Japan on 28 May 2019, Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) retains 100% ownership of East Container Terminal, while a joint venture, Terminal Operations Company (TOC) conducts all East Container Terminal operations. Sri Lanka will retain a 51% stake, and the joint venture partners hold a 49% stake. The agreement envisaged obtaining a loan from Japan and purchasing construction equipment with the loan money.
The President said the East Container Terminal Development was planned after reviewing all the factors including the regional geopolitical concerns, sovereignty of the country, revenue and employment generation potential. President Rajapaksa explained that the Eastern Terminal will be “sustainably developed” under the investment program. India contributes to 66% of the East Terminal re-export operations and 9% is re-exports to Bangladesh while the rest to several other countries.
The President further said that the plan was to develop the terminal as an investment project that has 51% ownership by the Government of Sri Lanka and the remaining 49% as an investment by India’s Adani Group and other stakeholders. The President said that there should be no doubt about it and asked all the trade union representatives to submit their proposals and ideas on this program.
President Rajapaksa stated that he intends to hand over the operation of the West Container Terminal to the Ports Authority and stressed the importance of submitting plans for the development of the port, by the trade union representatives.
Basil Rajapaksa, the Head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation, said that the expansion of operations in the Eastern Terminal would create a large number of job opportunities.
Minister of Ports Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority and other officials and representatives of 23 trade unions were present at the discussion.