Says ADB has other projects to attend to in other countries
Country Director claims Govt. always says to wait
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) yesterday said that it would perhaps move away from the Colombo Port East Container Terminal (ECT) project if the Government was no longer interested in completing it, noting that they had many other projects in several other countries to attend to.
“At the time, our assistance was up to issuing the expression of interest (EOI) and I believe that they have already finished with the evaluations. But then it was put on hold by the Government and there is no decision yet as to who should be shortlisted from the EOI,” ADB Country Director Sri Widowati told journalists in Colombo yesterday.
On 23 February 2016, the Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) and ADB executed a mandate letter setting out the terms of ADB’s appointment as transaction advisor to the SLPA in relation to the project. ADB selected Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) to act as its co-advisor.
“On completion of the evaluation process, the Government said that we should wait until the Hambantota issue resolves. And now I understand that the Hambantota concessional agreement has already been signed and I got the news that they are still open for adjustment. I don’t know which one is true, but we are following up with the Government and the Government always says ‘please, just wait’. So we are waiting for the green light to come back to assist them in this project,” she added.
The ADB and SMBC are providing co-advisory services in relation to preparing, structuring and procuring the $ 500 million project, which includes the operationalisation of the existing 440 metres of the deep water berth and the full design, building, finance, operation and maintenance of the entire 1,200 metres of the berth.
“We don’t have an exact timeframe but we cannot also withhold too long. There is no progress until such time. If it is not moving then perhaps we will leave to discuss with the Government because we also have many other things to do in other countries,” Widowati stressed.
Noting that ADB agreed to build ECT on a public-private partnership (PPP) basis, she asserted that private sector operators were expected to arrive.