Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday (17) announced that Sri Lanka would sign a fresh agreement with China to transform the controversial Colombo Port City project into a commercial hub as part of a move to make Colombo a ‘Financial City’.
The Premier during a press briefing held at the Temple Trees said the lands for the project would be given to China on the basis of a 99-year lease. “A new agreement will be signed with the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) by August,” Wickremesinghe said.
He pointed out that the international community had begun to appreciate and assist Sri Lanka in numerous ways, recognizing its good governance administration, adding that a number of countries have pledged their assistance on Sri Lanka.
He said a further agreement would be signed with China next year to improve free-trade facilities and to commemorate 60 years of diplomatic relationship between both countries. “CHEC will also provide us a comprehensive plan by September on how they would to assist us on maintaining the Hambantota Port,” he revealed.
He also spoke about the fishing ban on Sri Lanka which was lifted by the European Union (EU) on June 16. “We were also working to win the GSP Plus concessions back and within two weeks time we will be submitting our applications in Brussels,” he added.
“As the international community has begun to look at Sri Lanka positively, we will be getting the GSP facility before the end of the year. The new administration system commenced on January 8 by President Maithripala Sirisena and our Government is welcomed by all,” Premier Wickremesinghe mentioned.
Prime Minister further said that Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Mahinda Amaraweera were involved in discussions with the Norwegian Government on developing the country’s fishing industry. “They will provide us modern technology,” he added.
He also mentioned about the plan to shift the Welikada Prison to Kalutara. “A new commercial city will be established in Welikada and the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry has been instructed to expedite the initial works,” the Prime Minister said.