- 1,699 Chinese workers provided employment in SL
- Colossal Rs. 411 b loans from China since 2005 for 42 development projects
- Norochcholai gets largest chunk of Chinese loans
- Most major development projects in Lanka funded by Beijing loans and grants
By Ashwin Hemmathagama
Our Lobby Correspondent
Sri Lanka has obtained an astronomical Rs. 411 billion in loans from China to finance 42 development projects since 2005, with the Norochcholai power plant, road development and the Hambantota Port getting the largest chunk of the funding, as revealed in Parliament last week.
The first and second stages of the Norochcholai coal power plant have received Rs. 148 billion in funding from China. The Government has also obtained Rs. 71.9 billion in Chinese loans for the development of priority roads, according to documents tabled by the Finance Ministry in response to a question posed by UNP Legislator Ravi Karunanayake.
Beijing has also provided funding to the tune of Rs. 34 billion for the Hambantota Port and Rs. 24 billion for the construction of the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport that will open on 18 March.
According to Minister of International Monetary Co-operation and Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. Sarath Amunugama, the Government has obtained Chinese assistance of different stature for 42 projects over the last seven years.
The assistance has been received by way of grants or loans and has also provided employment opportunities for 1,699 Chinese personnel, according to the Minister.
“These workers are the technicians, falling into the categories of geology, road construction, steel assembling and welding, automation of machines, machine operators, and managers as well as supervisors for the respective projects,” Minister said responding to Karunanayake’s question
Beijing is also financing the Colombo-Katunayake Expressway at a cost of Rs. 28.5 billion and the Southern Expressway at Rs. 8.3 billion. Chinese loans are also being used to reconstruct fisheries harbours, electricity projects for the north, and technical support.
See Page 2 for the breakdown of Chinese funded projects.