SLPA to form new company for East Container Terminal | Daily News

SLPA to form new company for East Container Terminal

The Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) will form a new company to administer the East Container Terminal which will be developed as a transhipment hub said State Minister for Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal.

The SLPA will keep 51% stake while Adani Group India along with Japanese company will retain the balance 49% and will be stakeholders in the proposed new company,” he said at a special press conference on Tuesday.

He said that Adani Group from India would be a key player in this. The ECT terminal would have around 70% transhipment business to India through them. Japan will invest in the technology aspect.

He disclosed that in the Hambantota Port deal signed by the previous government ceded total operational ownership to the Port. It was handed over for 98 years to China and the Sri Lankan government was only entitled to lease rental.

“Under this ECT agreement, SLPA not only gets the controlling stake (51%) but also gets 51% profits. SLPA is getting this 51% profit without investing a single cent!”

He said 2020 was a bad year not only due to the C-109 pandemic but due to other issues as well. Exports fell, Sri Lanka lost around USD 3.5 billion revenue from tourism and also due to economic mismanagement of the previous government Sri Lanka had to find around USD 4.6 billion for international debt servicing.

Cabraal said that towards the latter part of the year the economy would recover. The government has put right several financial fundamentals.

Foreign remittance have increased and tourism is limping back to a ‘new normal’. Local enterprises have recommenced businesses mainly due to the Central Bank offering moratoria and low-interest rates. Stock market activity has picked up. There is a upsurge in exports. The Hambantota economic zones, and the Colombo Port City would bring about new FDI.

“With these positive sentiments, we expect the rupee to be stable around Rs. 185 against the US dollar soon.”

He said that it’s surprising to note that with these positive economic sentiments an international rating downgrade was stamped on Sri Lanka. “However Sri Lanka is not keen on international borrowings to fulfil its USD 4.6 billion debt obligation this year and would look at other financial tools to honour the debt.”