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Refuting speculations that the Hambantota port would be completely handed over to the Chinese, Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Dammika Ranatunga said China would only a partner of Sri Lanka in managing the port.

It was speculated that the management of the Hambantota port would be completely handed over to the Chinese following recent high level visits of the Sri Lankan Government to China.

Ranatunga speaking to Nation clarified the issue stating that discussions between parties of both countries have begun to establish a suitable formula that is best for both countries.

“There are discussions going on. We are looking at agreements that are in place and what the legal commitments are and establish a best formula for the SLPA and whoever the partner who will be working with us,” Ranatunga told Nation.

Meanwhile, he also said that the SLPA was in the process of drawing up a masterplan for all the ports under its purview. Accordingly, the masterplan would be finalized by mid-year.

He said that requests for proposals (RFP) have already been sent out for industries to be set up in the Hambantota port. “In addition, we have also sent RFPs for bunkering. We will send information through trade secretaries of Sri Lankan embassies worldwide to inform the world of the opportunities we have,” he said.

He pointed out that they had obtained a loan of USD 1.2 billion from Exim Bank. “But we don’t have revenue streams to service these loans,” he added.