Chinese investments will help reduce debt: Lankan Prime Minister

Chinese investments will help reduce debt: Lankan Prime Minister

SAM Staff,

The Hambantota deal will bring in an investment of USD 1.1 billion this year and another USD 1.1 billion the next, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

Addressing the media at the Central Bank on Friday he said China Merchants Ports Holdings Company Ltd. (CMPort) would make an additional investment of USD 300 million to further develop the Port.

The Prime Minister said these investments would greatly help reduce the debt burden of the country.

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera addressing the same conference said that it was estimated that by the end of 2019, the government would have to cough up Rs. 3.2 trillion to service its debt payments.

“Around 82 percent of this debt was taken on during the Rajapaksa regime”, he said.

Premier Wickremesinghe pointed out that while many have disagreed with the deal with China, it had helped reduce the massive loss of Rs. 46.7 billion incurred by the Port since 2011.

“We could have used this money to give 2.5 million people free healthcare or increase the education budget by 60 percent but we dumped it in a hole,” the Prime Minister said.