Numerous Chinese projects stalled due to inefficient government officials expecting bribes

Numerous investment proposals initiated by the Sri Lankan embassy in Beijing with leading Chinese companies have not taken off the ground due to what a top source called ‘lack of any serious enthusiasm at the Colombo end and the absence of committed, knowledgeable and goal -oriented bureaucrats for a long period to undertake follow up action.

The source , on condition of anonymity, said it is suspected whether some bureaucrats delayed action expecting commissions.

According to the source , the embassy had detailed discussions with a range of leading companies which had expressed interest in economic engagement in Sri Lanka .

Among them were, China Harbour which committed itself to investing US $500 million in the financial centre in the Colombo Port City.

Hunan Infrastructure had expressed interest in investing $200 million. China Rail and its collaborators have been in talks to build the LRT (Light Rail Transit ) in Colombo and residential apartment blocks as a multi billion dollar project.

“Fiber Home had been in talks about a smart class rooms and a high tech university project. and have resumed contact recently. China Great Wall in conjunction with the Wuhan University had also expressed interest in constructing a world class high tech university. Sinopharm was in discussion about building a plant to cater to the regional market and has now moved to the United Arab Emirates ( UAE).

“Many companies have expressed interest in renewable energy and transmission line development. Interest has been expressed in aviation collaboration, electric vehicle assembly and manufacture, tourist resorts, steel manufacture in Hambantota, extraction and refinement of mineral sands, etc. A project to send fee paying Chinese students to Sri Lanka has been initiated,” the source said .

The source said some discussions which were progressing were stalled due to the travel restrictions accompanying the pandemic and political instability of 2022 was a serious dampener.

“Now some discussions have been resumed tentatively. Sri Lanka will need to follow up seriously ,” the source said.

Asked for a comment in this regard , an official of the Board of Investment (BoI) said 19 Chinese projects are now in different stages of project life cycle. (Kelum Bandara)

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