PPP chief, Thilan Wijesinghe

The chief of government’s new Public-Private Partnership agency, Thilan Wijesinghe last week said that privatization was not a part of his mandate.

Addressing the Economic Summit 2017 in Colombo, Wijesinghe further said that Sri Lanka will look at PPPs in transport, utilities, tourism, construction, healthcare, financial services and IT in the coming months.

He said that projects in the pipeline include the highway from the new Kelani bridge to Athurugiriya and the underground road to extend Marine Drive and connect with the port access road.

“These projects will act as a catalyst of economic growth, combined with some public investment projects like the central expressway,” Wijesinghe said. Inland water-based transport and inland air transport, light rail transit, utility projects in water, waste to energy, and industrial zones were among the other projects in the pipeline, he noted. Under the PPP model, Wijesinghe said that dead assets like the Hyatt and Hambantota port will be transferred to the private sector.

Wijesinghe said that he aims to create a ‘brains trust of professionals’ for PPP projects that would comprise investment bankers, economic researchers and negotiators. This team would be working alongside relevant ministries and external consultants, he added.
“We will prioritise projects. Some quick wins are absolutely crucial,” he expressed.