No more loans to Lanka from WB, IMF after 2019 Cost of Expressway brought down from Rs. 159 bn to Rs. 134 bn
Posted on September 8th, 2017

By Ajith Alahakoon and Kushan Subasinghe Courtesy The Island

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank had informed the country that they would not provide any more grants after 2019.

Making a special ministerial statement, the Prime Minister said since the two leading bodies had expressed the stopping of grants, alternative measures had to be adopted to maintain economic development.

“Originally, there was a plan to construct an airport in Kandy,” he said.

“Also the central expressway comprises three tunnels. We will have to relook at them as well. One part of the expressway would be elevated. The expressways built earlier was done by filling the land. This has created environmental issues.”

The Prime Minister said the central expressway was just one of many development projects lined up for the Central Province. He said a tourism and cultural centre, agriculture technology centre, and an IT park would be constructed in the area.

The PM said the government had been able to reduce the cost of the central expressway by Rs. 25 billion. The initial estimated cost had been Rs. 159 billion while the new estimated cost was Rs. 134 billion.

The Prime Minister said the government had decided to borrow funds from Tokyo Mitshubishi Bank to save time. That, he said had been decided by the Department of External Resources. There had been no proper response when tenders were called initially. The Japanese government had given an assurance that it would ensure that there would be response later.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said tenders had been called for the second time in November 2016 and two Japanese companies namely Taisei and Fujita had responded. ‘The Cabinet decided to award the tender to Fujita but a Cabinet-appointed negotiation committee held that Fujita had not been able to meet two of the stipulated criteria. Then, it was decided to award the tender to Taisei as that company had reduced the price by then.

“Japan then inquired from me during my visit there whether it would be possible to get Fujitha also involved. Accordingly, it was decided to get Fuijtha to join Taisei.” Therefore those two companies would handle the first phase of the project, he said.

The PM said both India and China would be involved in other phases of the project.

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