The government has not taken any decision to hand over the East Container Terminal of the port of Colombo to any country by any means, Chief Government Whip, Minister Gayantha Karunatilaka informed the parliament Friday.
Minister Karunathilake made this assertion reading out a reply sent by the Minister of Port, Shipping and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayake, who is overseas, to a question raised by MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka under the Standing Order 27(2) of the Parliament on June 4th regarding handing over of Colombo Port Eastern Terminal to India and Japan.
“The government has not taken a decision to transfer the Eastern Container Terminal of the Colombo Port to by any means to a foreign country. Similarly, no decision has been taken to hand over the Eastern Terminal to India or Japan or to any foreign company.”
“As a SLPA development plan – the National Ports Development Master Plan funds of the SLPA was only sufficient to develop the first stage of the eastern terminal. But development of first stage alone is not enough to increase the capacity of the Colombo Port. Both first and second stages of the port have to be developed at the same time to improve the capacity of the terminal. So the SLPA Board decided to develop both stages with a loan. Accordingly, Japan agreed to grant a concessionary loan and decided to develop it as a joint venture with India, Japan and Sri Lanka. The purpose of establishing a joint venture is to operate the port more competitively. There is no transfer of ownership of the Eastern Terminal. Sri Lanka Port Authority has 100 percent ownership. No ownership rights will be given to any country or a foreign company. Military insecurity does not happen in any way. We own the majority right of the company in charge of operations. Therefore, there is no problem with ownership,” the letter said.
However, the MP Dissanayake said he was not satisfied with the answer given to his questions and wanted the subject minister to give a detailed answer.