Affirming the Finance Ministry’s announcement on Sunday, the European Investment Bank (EIB) yesterday said it would provide 50 million euros to support improvement and expansion of sewage networks across Colombo.
The new loan will help the Colombo Municipal Council to achieve its goal of providing full sanitation coverage to benefit people living and working in the Greater Colombo area. The new loan is the EIB’s first-ever support for water investment in Sri Lanka and the first loan for public sector investment agreed with the new post-civil war government.
“Increased access to sanitation to be achieved by this project will improve the lives of thousands of people living in Colombo and contribute to achievement of sustainable development goals in Sri Lanka,” said EIB Vice President Andrew McDowell.
“The fruitful discussions with Ministers Karunanayake and Samarawickrama have outlined how the EIB’s global experience can support new investment to improve lives and enhance opportunities in Sri Lanka,” he added.
“This loan is a further example of the European Union’s (EU) support for Sri Lanka’s long-term development. Studies show that modern sanitation is one of the most important factors in people’s health and well-being,” stated EU Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Tung-LaïMargue.
The 25-year long-term loan was formally agreed at a signature ceremony in Brussels by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama and McDowell, who is responsible for lending operations in South Asia.
The new loan represented the EIB’s fifth sovereign loan in the country.
The existing water supply and sewage network in Colombo was built 100 years ago and is not adequate for the city’s needs. Once complete, the upgraded water network will enable clean water to be supplied 24 hours a day and seven days a week, compared to the currently heavily
The new water investment programme will include provision of a new sewage network in currently unserved areas of Kirillopone. Under the initiative, a new wastewater treatment facility will also be built to reduce pollution at the Wellawatte sea outfall.
The EIB has supported investment in Sri Lanka since 2002, including backing climate-related investment, private companies and post-tsunami recovery.
The EIB is the world’s largest international public bank and one of the largest lenders for water investment worldwide. Over the last decade, the EIB has provided more than 37 billion euros for water-related investment in 67 countries around the world.