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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » Sri Lanka to see focus change in future Japan aid

Sri Lanka to see focus change in future Japan aid

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CSE.SAS

CSE.SAS
Global Moderator
Japan may gradually shift its aid to Sri Lanka from basic infrastructure to areas such as disaster management, health and education and per capita income rises in the future, officials said.

Japanese aid has been concentrated so far in providing basic infrastructure including roads and bridges, but Sri Lanka's per capita income is now over 2,900 US dollars making it a middle income country.

"So we will gradually try to change to focus on sectors like disaster management - this is one of our most important sectors, or the health sector, the education sector," Hiromi Ao, chief representative of the Japan International Co--operation Agency in Sri Lanka said.

"So we would like to shift to that kind of sectors."

In the 43rd Yen loan package signed when President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Japan involving 41 billion yen (53 billion rupees), 7.6 billion yen or 9.0 billion yen will be used to reduce landslide disaster along A-class national roads and provide early warning.

The project is expected to improve safety to road users and resident and also cut future reconstruction costs.

Japan will also fund a 5.1 billion yen (6.7 billion rupees) water supply and project in Anuradhapura north, which may cut risk of kidney disease of unknown etiology. Hard ground water is among the causes suspected for widespread kidney disease in north central Sri Lanka.

Building 37 major bridges will get 12.3 billion yen (12.3 billion rupees), and 15.9 billion yen (21 billion rupees) will go to improve the power distribution network to the Greater Colombo region and cut technical losses.

Recent Japanese loans had also prioritized reconstruction of areas caught in a civil war that ended in 2009.

Arinda Elapata, chief project specialist of JICA said since its loan program began in 1978, the agency had given 110 project loans and 15 commodity loans valued at 889 billion yen (1,151 billion rupees).

Most of this had been repaid and the existing portfolio is about 337 billion yen, he said.

The loans range from 0.2 percent interest with 40-year repayment and 10-year grace where Japanese firms are involved to 1.4 percent and 25 years and 7 year payback where project open to international tender.

Among the top recipients of Japanese aid since the early 1980s has been the Colombo Port.

Japan has also funded telecommunications and airport development with the Katunayake International Airport ongoing expansion also funded by JICA.

JICA provides technical co-operation and hundreds of its volunteers have worked in many parts of the country including rural villages providing technology and methods to improve people's lives.

http://www.lbo.lk/fullstory.php?nid=396321335

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