ADB to provide US$ 160 mn for railway efficiency improvement project | Daily News


ADB to provide US$ 160 mn for railway efficiency improvement project

Asian Development Bank (ADB), which has been a strong partner in development of Sri Lanka since 1966, will provide US $ 160 million for a railway efficiency improvement project in a bid to move Sri Lanka’s railway into the future.

According to ADB Country Director in Sri Lanka, Sri Widowati, discussions pertaining to the proposed project have been already concluded and ADB hopes to obtain the Sri Lankan government’s approval for the project shortly.

This project will support immediate improvements in the operation, maintenance, safety, skills development by improving the efficiency of railway operations and addressing key bottlenecks in the railway network through the modernization of the telecommunication system, ticketing and seat reservation system and so on.

In addition to this, ADB will extend its support for the Kelani Valley Railway Line Improvement Project. Through these efforts, ADB is expected to develop the transport, trade and logistics sectors in Sri Lanka thereby bringing much needed employment opportunities, connectivity and many more.

ADB believes that improved road and railway connectivity particularly in rural areas will show positive results in the form of more employment opportunities, better prices for farmers’ produce, better health care facilities and indicators, better school enrolment in the rural sector. Speaking on ADB’s overall operations in Sri Lanka, particularly its investment commitment in the transport sector in Sri Lanka, Sri Widowati stressed the need to develop the transport sector in Sri Lanka to better achieve set social economic targets in the country.

Furthermore, citing the transport sector as the backbone of economy, she reiterated the ADB’s commitment to create growth oriented infrastructure and logistics facilities in the country to create prosperity and promote inclusiveness.

In addition to this, ADB in partnership with the Sri Lankan government has made a huge investment for the integrated Road Investment Program (iRoad) that focuses on connecting habitations in rural areas with the main economic activities in the urban areas. Through this project, ADB intends to make a responsible commitment to the well-being of the society, economy and environment while uplifting the quality of lives of the vast rural communities in each province in the country.

Speaking further she said, ADB’s cumulative sovereign loans during the period from 1966- up to June 2019 in Sri Lanka, amounts to US $ 9.3 billion. Out of this US $ 9.3 billion, transport sector holds the biggest share of funds or 29% of the total loans while Energy, Water and urban Development, Agriculture natural resources and Rural development, Finance and public sector management , Education sectors account for 16%, 14%, 14% , 12% and 10% respectively. In addition to that, Industry and trade, Multisector and Health sectors account for 3%, 1% and 16% respectively.

As far as ADB’s total investment in the transport sector is concerned, it has disbursed more than US $ 2,681 million for 28 projects in the transport sector while it has provided 26 technical assistance grants amounting to US $ 16 million.

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