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Sri Lanka’s President outlines mega infrastructure push

Sri Lanka’s President outlines mega infrastructure push

Daily FT: President Ranil Wickremesinghe has articulated his vision for economic development and infrastructure investment, particularly focusing on the master plans for strategic tourism zones in the Eastern Province, the Colombo City and the Western Region and Greater Hambantota.
At a top-level meeting, the President emphasised the economic potential of Hambantota, envisioning it as a pivotal hub for infrastructure development and connectivity. He highlighted plans to link Hambantota to the Myanmar port, with further extensions anticipated up to Chongqing in eastern China and down to Africa.
President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of leveraging the extensive investments already made in infrastructure in Hambantota, despite previous challenges.
“We have spent a significant amount on infrastructure here, and despite facing crises, it is imperative to capitalise on these investments,” remarked President Wickremesinghe. He disclosed plans for allocating thousands of acres of land for investment zones, with additional acquisitions sought in the Monaragala area.
Moreover, the President advocated for strategic expansion into new areas, including Avissawella and Eheliyagoda, to alleviate urban congestion and foster new city centres. Plans for a North Colombo port expansion and potential industrial and IT parks were also discussed, aiming to attract investments and spur economic growth.
“We must concentrate our efforts and funds on key infrastructure, particularly in Hambantota and Colombo,” President Wickremesinghe stated. He expressed confidence in attracting investors for heritage cities like Colombo once land availability is ensured. However, he acknowledged the need for continued investment in Hambantota to propel its development, highlighting it as the next significant hub after Colombo.
The development of Trincomalee as a major investment zone, in collaboration with India, emerged as a priority during the discussion. President Wickremesinghe announced plans for a joint working group to implement development initiatives in Trincomalee, emphasising the importance of bilateral cooperation in driving economic growth and regional stability.
The President’s Media Division said Wickremesinghe’s remarks underscored a strategic shift towards targeted infrastructure development, emphasising the pivotal roles of Hambantota and the Eastern Province in economic growth and positioning it as a key player alongside Colombo in Sri Lanka’s development trajectory.
Eastern Province Governor Senthil Thondaman, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayake, Finance Ministry Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena, ministerial secretaries, and Senior Advisor to the President on Economic Affairs Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga participated in the discussion.

OSL take:
Sri Lanka’s development programme presents a host of new business/investment opportunities to foreign businesses/investors. With multilateral donor agencies already committing monies for development programmes in key economic sectors, foreign businesses/investors could look at exploring the business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka while also looking at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses to engage in the country’s development programme. Sri Lanka is currently on the path to becoming an emerging business destination in the South Asian region. The country’s positioning in the Indian Ocean and the strong trade ties have also helped boost Sri Lanka’s growth as a business destination in the region.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/20240305/Z_4

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