Comments / 306 Views / Thursday, 2 February 2017 00:36
- Central Expressway Phase II for local contractors kicks off
- Ranil says time for local companies to use opportunities to target int’l projects
- 800-acre investment zone in Bingiriya, former VOC land in Puttalam likely to be converted into a zone
- Defends coalition Govt. and says tug of war natural between political parties
Fast-tracked development should be based on sound policy and plans, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday while outlining plans to establish new investment zones in Bingiriya and Puttalam to spur economic growth and give local companies the chance to build international projects.
Hailing the start of the second phase of the Central Expressway, Wickremesinghe recalled that under the previous Government the private sector was not given the chance to build highways or be part of other large-scale infrastructure projects funded by foreign loans. However, the current Government had changed that trend, he pointed out, and given the chance for local companies to build their reputations so that they would be able to bid for projects around the world.
The Prime Minister insisted that the Government was presently focused on the region of the Western and Wayamba provinces along with Kandy, Monaragala and Sabaragamuwa Province as the central areas of development. He recalled that at the start of the year the Government had opened two factories and had then shifted focus to the South, after which they were now looking at an 800-acre site in Bingiriya for an investment zone.
The Government also plans to convert 500 acres in Puttalam, which was initially earmarked for a Voice of America station but later handed back to the Government by the US Embassy, into a new development zone.
“We have two international airports and two major harbours. We must focus our development around these structures and establish investment zones linked to them. This is how countries like Thailand and Malaysia developed. They established key industries linked to mega infrastructure. We will also build new investment zones linked to the Central Expressway,” he said.
State-run Industrial Development Ltd. is already busy establishing Sri Lanka’s first private investment zone in Sapugaskanda and the same company will take over the infrastructure tasks of the proposed zone in Galle and elsewhere. The Government has sought assistance from Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to form a joint venture with Industrial Development.
The Prime Minister assured discussions were underway to float a joint venture between Industrial Development and an Indian company to build infrastructure in new investment zones. Kalpitiya will be developed as a special tourism zone.
With improved industries, tourism would flow to every corner of Sri Lanka, Wickremesinghe predicted, opening up new opportunities and jobs for youth. The Prime Minister reiterated the election pledge by his party to establish one million jobs during his term in power and insisted that the Government would work tirelessly towards this goal.
Since the Government had strong growth plans it was imperative that the two main parties of the country worked together, he said, defending the UNP-SLFP coalition that has attracted some flak over the last few months.
“We need good policies and good plans. Otherwise we cannot move forward and the future of our children will be bleak,” Wickremesinghe warned. “It is normal for two parties to have a tug of war when they come together. But first we must develop the country. Once it is developed then dividing its returns is up to you but you must focus on how 500 jobs can be created instead of 50. That is my view. Once we have achieved growth then even smaller parties can benefit from the results.
“The companies that will begin this project today must plan to start an international project in another country by the time this is over. That is how we can foster growth and take Sri Lanka to the next level.”
Cabinet in November approved allocating Section II of the Central Expressway section from Meerigama to Kurunegala to local contractors at a cost of Rs. 137 billion. Only one bid was entertained for each section with bidders presenting contract packages that were 18%-20% higher than the estimate given by the State engineer, the Daily FT reported earlier.
Under the Cabinet decision the entire length of Section II has been broken into four sections named Package A, B, C and D. Package A (9.71 km) has been given to the International Construction Consortium (ICC), Access and a joint venture with Nawaloka and Kdesh for Rs. 34.1 billion. Package B (10.20 km) has been parcelled off to Sierra, Olympus, Tudawe Brothers and Consulting Engineers and Contractors (CEC) for Rs. 34.5 billion. Package C was given to K.D.A. Weerasinghe and Co. (KDAW), NEM Construction and the lesser-known E&C at a cost of Rs. 32 billion.
Package D, despite having the shortest span of 8.5 km, was given to MAGA Engineering, CML-MTD Construction, along with V.V. Karunaratne & Co and Hoveal Construction for Rs. 36.2 billion.
[size=36]Cabinet approves Rs. 23.2 b from State banks for Central Expressway[/size]
Cabinet yesterday approved the Government borrowing Rs. 23.2 billion from the State-run National Savings Bank (NSB) and People’s Bank to fund the Central Expressway.
“The government has identified the Central Expressway Project as one of its priority projects for promoting economic affairs in the country through improving connectivity among various regions,” said a short post on the Government Information Department website, which announced the Cabinet decision.
The proposal made by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, to obtain funds of Rs. 23.2 billion for the Road Development Authority for construction of Phase II of Central Expressway Project from the National Savings Bank and People’s Bank as loan facilities, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.
- See more at: http://www.ft.lk/article/595465/Private-sector-should-go-global--says-PM#sthash.Jd3Sk5eG.dpuf