Sri Lanka signed two multi-million dollar contracts with Chinese firms for a port upgrade project on Thursday in the middle of a political hiatus that has raised doubts over the legitimacy of the government and the legality of the deals, the Reuters reported yesterday.
An official at the state-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority told Reuters it signed two contracts with Chinese firms worth more than $50 million combined on Thursday after the deals were approved by Rajapaksa’s disputed cabinet last week.
One of Rajapaksa’s cabinet ministers, speaking on condition of anonymity, also confirmed the deals had been approved by the cabinet, while documents seen by Reuters showed the deals were set to be rubber-stamped at the meeting.
The deals are a $32 million contract to enhance the deep berth capacity of state-run Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) in Colombo with China Harbour Engineering Company, and another one worth $25.7 million for the purchase of three cranes from Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries for the same project, according to the ports authority official.
Asked about the deals, the former cabinet spokesperson under Wickremesinghe’s government, Rajitha Senaratne, told Reuters:
“We will have to re-examine definitely. They don’t have the legal power to decide.”
The ports authority official said the tenders for the deals had been advertised in state-owned newspapers, as is the norm in Sri Lanka, and that they were sent to a cabinet-appointed procurement panel months ago.
India, which accounts for around 80 percent of Colombo’s trans-shipment business, has raised concerns over increasing Chinese projects in Colombo.
New Delhi had been pushing Sri Lanka for the award of an estimated $1 billion contract for a second foreign-operated container terminal in Colombo.
But that deal was the subject of an argument between Sirisena and Wickremesinghe just before his ouster, in which Sirisena reportedly said the country couldn’t give any more of its assets to foreigners.
The political instability and economic malaise have raised questions over Sri Lanka’s ability to service large external debt taken to finance reconstruction following the end the civil war in 2009. It owes around $8 billion to China, official data shows.
Dam Friday, 30 November 2018 03:32 PM
Signed with whom
Unchikun Friday, 30 November 2018 03:32 PM
This is the wonder of Asia. No tendering and awarded. Can we know more details of the deal as I call it. It is a new job for the black coats at the so called “Peoples Channel “.
Chari Friday, 30 November 2018 03:37 PM
China is our closest friend.
vithura Friday, 30 November 2018 04:28 PM
You forgot to remove the letter 'r' from the word 'fiend'.
Johan Friday, 30 November 2018 03:43 PM
Ah ha.Samarasinghe got what he was desiring.He will be faithful to MS always
lkboy Friday, 30 November 2018 03:48 PM
As usual, selling the country to China.
Ryan Hudson Friday, 30 November 2018 03:51 PM
There is no legality issue, only thing is Reuters is not aware about centralised executive powers of the president, he is very very powerful and also use of such powers dependent entirely on one man, this position is more powerful than any other executive presidency in the universe, the only thing he can not do is......er er er er er I dont know, I feel he can do anything, Reuters is more used to parliamentary or federal constitutions
ram Friday, 30 November 2018 07:58 PM
if our president had super power why he wanted to blame RW for selling country and other wrong doings
Reporting Friday, 30 November 2018 04:17 PM
We need better relations with China India USA and Russia.
sss Friday, 30 November 2018 04:17 PM
For their own interestr china should also step in to stop corruption in SL
Sanjeewa Friday, 30 November 2018 04:22 PM
Making hay during the brief sunshine.
vithura Friday, 30 November 2018 04:30 PM
Could not wait till SC verdict, for commission harvesting takes precedence above all else!
Citizen Perera Friday, 30 November 2018 05:06 PM
Another blank cheque for MR?
Jack Friday, 30 November 2018 05:56 PM
how much is the pocket money MR gets?
Silly Point Friday, 30 November 2018 06:38 PM
Can an illegal government award contracts? Are they valid?
Silva Friday, 30 November 2018 07:46 PM
Throw the Chinese out of Sri Lanka...
Lal Fonseka Friday, 30 November 2018 08:15 PM
We are very active, if not unable to develop the country
sach Friday, 30 November 2018 09:28 PM
This is good CMB port needs this development. Hope we can finish this soon.
Rama Saturday, 01 December 2018 12:29 AM
oh dear oh dear, more loans, more debts = debt trap.
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