Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe unveiling the ceremonial plaque for the new oil refinery and cement factory at Hambantota Export Zone worth $4 billion with Chinese Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan, Oil and Gas Minister of Oman Muhammed Bin Hamad Al Rumhi, Ministers Malik Samarawickrama and Sajith Premadasa participated at the event.
Pic by Pradeep Pathirana
- Sl and Indian Aviation Authorities will launch the joint venture and make the Mattala International Airport within three months
By Yohan Perera in Hambantota
The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) in Mattala will be turned into a joint venture between the Sri Lankan Aviation Authority and Indian Aviation Authority within three months, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe came up with this information at a ceremony held to mark the inauguration of construction work of proposed oil refinery and the cement factory in Hambantota yesterday.
“Sri Lankan and Indian Aviation Authorities will launch the joint venture and make the Mattala International Airport within three months. The airport will not be used to store paddy any more,” the Prime Minister said.
“When we came here to Hambantota in 2015 to campaign for the elections, the port was empty, there were only peacocks in Mattala Airport. There was a cricket stadium where cricket was not played and a conference hall where no conferences were held, roads were half done.
When we came here to Hambantota in 2015 to campaign for the elections, the port was empty, there were only peacocks in Mattala Airport. There was a cricket stadium where cricket was not played and a conference hall where no conferences were held, roads were half done
There were wild elephants here though there were wild elephants in Yala. We pledged that we will fill the Hambantota Port with ships and we were laughed at. We came here to inaugurate the zone in January 2017, we were stoned and they tried to chase us. If we were chased away there would not have been an active port here today,” he added.
“We have approved applications sent by few Chinese companies to construct an LNG Power plant in Hambantota. Today we have started the construction work of a new oil refinery. This is the first time Sri Lanka work started for a refinery after the 1960s, when such a refinery was constructed in Sapugaskanda.
There is a new cement factory as well. We are delivering what we promised. We are making Hambantota an economic hub in the South. We will continue this. We have only begun Hambantota, there will be an export zone in Monaragala as well.
We were able to begin a zone in Katunayake because of the Airport, the Port and the refinery in Biyagama. We have started the BOI and the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade to attract more and more investors. We are thinking of tourism zones and there will be at least five new golf courses soon. We will also introduce a special law for Hambantota which will be named Ruhuna Economic Development and Corporation Law soon,” he also said.
You see here SLs, Indians, Chinese investors, with them and the interest shown by the Govt. of Oman and many others from other part of the globe
“You see here Sri Lankans, Indians, Chinese investors, with them and the interest shown by the government of Oman and many others from other part of the globe, Hambantota will become a truly multinational investment zone. We are also happy to see guests from two nations. Both Tamil Nadu and Oman traders have been dealing with Sri Lanka for a long time. Therefore, there is nothing new when it comes to investment.,” Mr. Wickremesinghe further exclaimed.
Minister of Housing and UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa said he will see to it that the cement factory and the oil refinery will not be a flop and would conduct monthly review meetings to monitor the progress of the projects. “We will not allow these projects to be non-events and therefore I shall monitor the progress every month. These projects have actually strengthened the relationship between me and the Prime Minister, he said.
Minister of Oil and Gas of Oman, Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi said he was happy and excited about the oil refinery project in Sri Lanka. He said this project will enhance the long relationship enjoyed by the two countries.
Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera who wished the Prime Minister for his 70th birthday said it was Prime Minister’s vision that had brought development to Hambantota. He said Hambantota will soon change its portfolio from today. “It will actually become a metropolis from a rural village,’ the Minister said.
This is the first time Sri Lanka work started for a refinery after the 1960s, where such a refinery was constructed in Sapugaskanda