While lauding the government for the steps taken to develop the Hambantota port as a public private partnership (PPP), Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) yesterday in a statement urged the government to ensure that the principle of collective responsibility is respected to inspire confidence in its decision making process.
The CCC statement made clear references to a recent statement by the Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe—although it was not specifically mentioned—who said the leasing of Hambantota port to the Chinese was wrong and he would work towards regaining the ownership of the port on behalf of
“While recognizing the circumstances in which this PPP deal was required to be finalized, the chamber urges the government to ensure that the principle of collective responsibility is respected, so as to inspire confidence in the final decision taken. Sri Lanka needs to enhance its reputation as a business destination that has a credible and predictable investment regime. This imperative is challenged when seemingly conflicting sentiments are expressed by responsible government sources,” CCC statement said.
Meanwhile, CCC said the Hambantota port PPP is an important step towards the goal of position Sri Lanka as a fully service maritime hub nation.
“In addition to the much-needed boost to the country’s foreign reserves, the reported scale and size of the investment is expected to generate meaningful FDI in port-related activities, as well as businesses around the port.”
CCC expects the implementation of the port agreement to be effected in a manner that would serve the best interests of our country.
Later this month, the CCC said it is convening a seminar for its members on the subject of the Hambantota Port development, with key officials.
The seminar will provide an opportunity to hear more details and seek clarifications on the obligations assumed under the agreement and the plans for implementation.
Since last year, CCC has been continuously lobbying to fast-track the development of the East Container Terminal (ECT) and the development of an e-Hub for trade facilitation.
Port and logistics fraternity joins bandwagon
Ceylon Association of Shipping Agents (CASA), Sri Lanka Logistics & Freight Forwarders Association (SLLFFA) and Sri Lanka Association of Vessel Operators (SLAVO) have commended the Public Private Partnership agreement between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and China Merchants Ports International Ltd., to operate the Port of Hambantota.
A meeting was held recently at the Ports and Shipping Ministry to brief the shipping and logistics fraternity on the successful execution of the agreement to develop the Port of Hambantota.
“This historic agreement will create many opportunities, besides shipping and logistics, in developing the Southern Province, creating employment opportunities for the people of Sri Lanka amongst many other benefits to the economy,” a communiqué by CASA said.
SLLFFA also commended the successful execution of the agreement, to develop the Hambantota Port.
“We are delighted to note the proceeds of the FDI received will relieve the huge debt burden on the Port of Colombo. The government and the public at large and will be put to good use to develop the Port of Colombo and other Ports of the country. We also wish to applaud the initiatives taken to commence development of the East Container Terminal, ” SLLFFA stated.
Meanwhile, SLVO said it was encouraging to see positive steps taken in the right direction, to lease out the Hambantota port to China Merchants Group, for a greater benefit to Sri Lanka as a whole.
“The government’s decision to enter into a billion dollar partnership with a state – owned listed Chinese company to revive the loss – making Hambantota Port is appreciated”, SLAVO said.