Systems ‘Go’ for all Chinese projects

The government will go ahead with all Chinese projects and other foreign funded projects undertaken by the previous regime, said Co-Cabinet Spokesman, Minister Rajitha Senaratne yesterday. The minister said at the weekly Cabinet briefing yesterday that it was too late to cancel anything as many of the projects had already been started with all agreements finalized in relation to all projects.

Controversy was sparked when the new government suspended Chinese funded programmes, notably the US$ 1.4 million Colombo Port City Project, earlier this year.

“We only said that we would halt ongoing work on such projects to plug corruption connected to them. We are not against Chinese investment in the country,” Senaratne added. He said government expected to receive the full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report by January 2016 and the Chinese company could resume work thereafter. The Chinese investor would however, only receive land on a 99-year lease.

The minister added, government would have to pay the Chinese company compensation for the six month delay in their work and for the damages incurred during the time that the government was re-evaluating the project.
While the government criticized its predecessor for cozying up to the Chinese, Cabinet this week approved the Chinese loans for the projects to improve the Southern Transport System (EXIM Bank China) and the Central Highway Project (Metallurgical Corporation of China). The government also pacified India with the decision to buy trains on an Indian loan scheme.

Zahrah Imtiaz

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