The funds received from China Merchant Company in connection with the Hambantota Port Project and those received from the Indian company in connection with the Mattala Airport will be credited to a special account thus boosting the country's foreign reserves, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.
He said this at the opening of the new bus stand and economic centre in Ampara yesterday.
"Sri Lanka will receive US$1.1 billion from the China Merchant Co., Ltd under the debt swapping programme while US$300 million will be invested by the Indian company to manage the Mattala international airport on the basis of a joint venture with the Civil Aviation Authority. It will also be possible to earn more by selling some of the half-built hotels. We are hoping to stabilise our foreign reserves in ten years time," the Prime Minister said. "Some are asking us as to what we have been doing during the past two years. The people remember that we inherited a country laden with debt. I told Parliament on Thursday how bonds have been issued without informing the monetary board. However we have managed to stabilize the economy. We have managed to stabilize the economy amid other challenges such as natural disasters."
The Prime Minister also underscored the fact that Sri Lanka the cost of living had risen because of the natural disasters that devastated the country recently and said the government would go ahead with its plans to develop Colombo, Hambantota, Kandy and the Hingurakgoda Airport mainly to boost tourism.
He said he would visit Bingiriya on Sunday to look for suitable lands to set up industrial zones there and recalled that Ampara was developed with the setting up of the Galoya Development Project and later with the Mahaweli project. (Yohan Perera and Wasantha Chandra Pala in Ampara)