A massive investment worth $ 20 billion for a mega refinery project in Hambantota by a Singapore firm has been approved by the Cabinet.
“The Cabinet gave approval for a refinery and related products project by Sugih Energy International (SEI), Singapore at the Hambantota Port,” International Trade and Development Strategies Minister Malik Samarawickrama told the Daily FT. He said the Board of Investment (BOI), too, has approved the project proposal.
“The company will invest in two phases. In the first phase, they have committed an investment of $14.8 billion for the refinery, and further $4 to $5 billion for petrochemical and other projects,” he added.
The respective approvals are subject to Environment Impact Assessments (EIA), which will be jointly done with the other refinery project, with an investment of $ 3.8 billion by Silver Park International Ltd., a Singapore registered firm which was previously approved.
Acknowledging that these projects will take at least three to four years to be fully operational with all the right environmental clearances, the Minister, along with Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, told a media conference that the fact is that these are all in the pipeline, and these investments have been committed.
Noting that Sri Lanka can be proud of its FDI achievements, which are now picking up, he said between 1978 and 2018, the FDI inflows to Sri Lanka were $17.3 billion, and of that 35% of it came in the last four years.
“One-third of the total FDI since liberalisation of our economy has come in during just the past four years. This is a clear indication of the confidence that investors have in us, and the investment prospects in our country. These are all long-term sustainable development projects,” he pointed out.
Minister Samarawickrama also said they were negotiating with the Government of India to have a joint venture, to ensure that the Mattala Airport is operated prominently.
“The Mattala airport is a viable project. We are discussing with the Indian authorities at present,” he added.