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East Container Terminal: India welcomes move to attract FDI

The participation of India in the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port will secure precisely such investment as required in the much-needed capacity augmentation of the Colombo Port, which otherwise faces the prospect of losing business in the absence of investment, said the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

Welcoming the emphasis of the leadership of Sri Lanka to attract more foreign investment, the High Commission said that the expeditious development of the ECT will strengthen Sri Lanka’s place as a major connectivity hub, create, directly and indirectly, thousands of jobs, and generate revenue for Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, it stated that India’s participation in the ECT is also natural, given that over 60% of the Colombo Port’s transhipment traffic is with India.

Last week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the Government would retain 51% of the shares of the ECT, and that India’s Adani Group and other investors would hold the balance 49%.

At a discussion held between the two sides at the Presidential Secretariat, Colombo, the President said that the ECT development had been undertaken after taking into consideration regional factors, the country’s sovereignty, revenue, employment, etc.

A statement issued by the Presidential Secretariat quoted the President as having assured that the ECT wouldn’t be sold or leased and that instead, it would be developed with the Government being the major shareholder.

Nevertheless, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman (Retd.) General Daya Ratnayake told The Sunday Morning, as reported in last week’s edition, that a final decision on the controversial Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) signed between India, Japan, and Sri Lanka for jointly developing the ECT is to be taken following the recommendations given by the two committees appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Accordingly, the project committee is currently evaluating the MoC and once the recommendations are given, the Cabinet-appointed negotiating committee will look into the entire MoC and give its recommendations to the Cabinet.

He said that the two committees were currently looking at the MoC signed between the three countries, and that they were not evaluating any proposals submitted by any private companies.