* “Projects under SDA not for short-term cash”
As Sri Lanka reports a huge 30% growth in tourism, many new mega-projects are now slated to back this crucial sector by the Government and the large scale projects under the Strategic Development Projects Act are not for short-term cash gain.
“During 2011 to 2013, many strategic development projects of large-scale have been approved by Parliament. I commend the Economic Development Ministry for introducing large-scale projects under this Act to enhance our tourism, which is aiming for 2.5 million tourists. During 2011-13, the Government successfully commenced the Krrish Transworks Colombo at $ 450 m, Shangri-La hotels project at $ 240 m, and the mixed utility complex with a luxury hotel at $ 140 million,” announced Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen last week in Parliament.
Minister Bathiudeen was taking part in the debate on the order under the Strategic Development Projects Act No. 14 of 2008, scheduled on 23 January.
Providing more details to the House, Minister Bathiudeen revealed: “The mixed development project by John Keells Holdings has a project value of $ 500 m and I am happy to say that it is the first-ever new concept of a city within a city in our capital Colombo.
The mixed development by Welcome Hotels Lanka will bring in $ 140 m. Its investor, India’s ITC Company, is also joined by world-renowned Sheraton Hotels. India’s ITC hotel has annual turnover of US$ 7 b, with 29,000
employed across 60 locations in India. It is among the top 10 corporates of India.”
Revealing details on the Krrish Project, Minister Bathiudeen said: “Next let us look at the Krrish Project. Krrish Transworks project is a mixed development project of $ 450 m. The agreement between UDA and Krrish is for a 99-year lease period at a (lease) value of Rs. 4.9 billion. The project implementation period is 60 months.
The Investor is Krrish Group of India. We are pleased to say that the complex will have four towers of 70 storeys each. Three towers will have high-end residential apartments.”
In his response to arguments raised by the Opposition that these hotel project investors were ‘poor investors,’ Minister Bathiudeen said: “Certain members of the Opposition are of the belief that these are poor investors. However, we believe that we should not be unusually concerned about the initial investment value or how much (cash) the investors are bringing at the start. In fact, we cannot expect investors to bring high amounts of cash dollars initially. They are not overnight investors who want to bring (and dump) some cash at start and then leave. They are here to stay for the long term. We should not forego long-term prospects for short-term revenues.”