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‘Trade unions, saboteurs ruined golden opportunity for East Terminal’

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This cry was made after Sri Lanka Port Authority(SLPA) sought a $325 million loan financing facility to procure the required equipment to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Colombo Port.

SLPA called for Expression of Interest (EOI) from eligible domestic/International banks and Financial Institutions, jointly with offshore loan syndication partners to provide USD term loan financing facility for SLPA to finance procurement of required equipment and Terminal Operating System valued at approximately USD 325 million.

Former Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (1994-1998) Ranjith Wickramasinghe said that he was instrumental in negotiating the SAGT terminal deal during that time which paved the way for mega development of the Port. “Likewise these deals should not be thrown away and should be executed and especially at the time when Sri Lanka is facing a dollar crunch. “I have done the groundwork and laid solid foundations to take on deals of this nature benefitting Sri Lanka Port Authority,” he said.

Wickramasinghe also recalled that during this tenure the SLPA made the highest ever profit of Rs 3 billion which was the biggest ever by any private or government institution.

Meanwhile, Maritime expert and CEO Shippers Academy Rohan Masakorala also said that this Adani deal should have gone through as under it the SLPA had a 51% controlling stake. “I repeatedly told and highlighted the importance of this kind in PPP deals which are very productive to the country but it was very unfortunately turned down.”

He also said that had the deal gone through the East container terminal would have been in operation by the end of the year.

President COSMI and former President Federation of Chamber of Commerce Nawaz Rajabdeen said that this deal was stopped due to political influence from opposition parties and it was sad this deal did not go through.”

“Now SLPA having turned the back to Adani have to go with the begging bowl to find fiancés where a readymade investor was there.”

Leasing out unproductive assets is not like cutting a tree and destroying it or leasing mines that have high mineral values worth billions of rupees. This mindset has to change.”

Canisius Fernando Chairman Ceylon National Chamber of Industries also endorsed this and said that developing unused assets which brings benefits like this Adani deal should have gone through. “But the government had to bow down to pressure groups and that was sad,” he said.

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