The Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM Bank) of China has agreed to provide a concessional loan of US$989 million covering 85% of the contract price for the Central Expressway Project Section 1 from Kadawatha to Meerigama, the Finance Ministry said.
The loan agreement was signed yesterday by Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samarathunga on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government while Chinese Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan signed on behalf of the EXIM Bank of China.
The statement said the Sri Lankan government accorded high importance to the development of infrastructure including expressway network with inter-connectivity as it will directly contribute to the economic growth and will have indirect effects in raising the productivity and efficiency in different economic sectors. To complement the existing expressway network, Central Expressway Project (CEP) has been initiated with the purpose of linking Colombo with Kandy and Kurunegala.
Section 1 of the CEP will start from Kadawatha where four expressways, namely Outer Circular Highway (OCH) II, OCH III and Colombo-Katunayaka Expressway and the Central Expressway link through the Kadawatha interchange. This will create an uninterrupted connectivity from Hambanthota to Katunayaka or Hambanthota to Kandy linking several provinces and economically important ports, airports and commercial cities. This proposed highway will improve the inter regional connectivity and efficiency of the entire expressway network.
Accordingly, strengthening the financial cooperation between the Government of Sri Lanka and the People’s Republic of China in the field of the infrastructure development of Sri Lanka, the Export- Import Bank of China (EXIM Bank) has agreed to provide a concessional loan amounting to US$ 989 million covering 85% of the contract price, for the Central Expressway Project - Section 1 from Kadawatha to Meerigama. The total estimated cost of the project is US$ 1,164 million. Furthermore, this loan is the single largest loan approved by the EXIM Bank for Sri Lanka.
Since, the implementation of the Section 2 of the Central Expressway has already been commenced with the financial assistance of local commercial banks, this loan facility from China EXIM Bank will facilitate the speedy implementation of Kadawatha –Meerigama section ensuring the connectivity of the expressway network up to Kurunagala.