By Sandun A Jayasekera
Cabinet Spokesman, Mass Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday confirmed that the West Container Terminal (WCT) at the Port of Colombo will be developed as a joint venture between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), India’s Adani Group and a Japanese company nominated by the Japanese Government.
Minister Rambukwella added that when a Cabinet decision was arrived at on a development project and necessary follow- up action, it cannot be changed or withdrawn arbitrarily as many other local and international stakeholders were involved in the development project.
Responding to a journalist at yesterday’s weekly Cabinet news briefing held in zoom format, Minister Rambukwella said the development of the WCT was a pledge given by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the SLPP government in their policy document of‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’.
“The project has been approved by the Cabinet. The Development of the East Container Terminal (ECT)) ran into a controversy as a result of the protest staged by Buddhist prelates, the Trade Unions and a section of the government. I admit that the ECT must be an asset of the SLPA. The government has decided to develop the WCT as a Private Public Partnership (PPP) on 15% - 85% share basis,” he noted.
Minister Rambukwella said the agreement to develop the WTC as a PPP with India, Japan and the SLPA was signed by the Yahapalana regime in 2017 and 2019. India nominated the Adani Group as a party to the development from the Indian side but Japan was yet to nominate a company.
“Whether the ECT would be developed as Build Operate Transfer (BOT) model or Build Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model, will be decided only after the final development agreement is signed and added a huge investment was necessary to develop the WCT but not for the ECT as the development of the ECT has been almost completed and investment necessary for its development is only about US$ 500 million,” he said.
Those who had opposed the participation of Adani Group to the development of the ECT were not opposed to the development of the WCT as a PPP, Minister Rambukwella said.
- The government has decided to develop the WCT as a Private Public Partnership