Ruwanpura Expressway: China officially exits

The Cabinet has officially removed the Chinese contractor from the Ruwanpura Expressway Project (REP) Section I from Kahatuduwa to Ingiriya and decided to go ahead with local funding, The Sunday Morning learnt.

The local funds are to be raised through state banks and the Ministry of Roads and Highways is yet to lay out a mechanism for funding purposes, Secretary to the Ministry of Roads and Highways Ranjith Premasiri said.

As he confirmed to The Sunday Morning, the Cabinet has removed the Chinese contractor, the China National Technical Import and Export Corporation (CNTIC), that was awarded the construction of the 26.3 km Section I of the REP from Kahatuduwa to Ingiriya in 2016.

“The funds will have to be sought from state banks for the REP,” he said.

As per the cabinet memorandum dated 26 July 2016, CNTIC was the proposed contractor for Section I of the REP.

As reported by The Sunday Morning, due to the economic crisis, the conditions that had been imposed by the Government included obtaining the full construction amount prior to the beginning of the project and a condition that the repayment of each loan should begin at least after five years after the construction had commenced.

In addition, the construction of the project should be completed within three years, and during that time the Government should not be obliged to pay any interest. Most importantly, the Government is focusing more on dollar loans coming into the country rather than other currencies, The Sunday Morning reliably learnt.

Meanwhile, cabinet approval was granted as per the cabinet memorandum dated 27 February 2020, pertaining to the implementation of the construction of the proposed expressway networks in Sri Lanka, to authorise the Secretary to the Ministry of Roads and Highways to request CNTIC to provide 100% financing for the cost of Section I of the REP.

Last week, the Cabinet approved a proposal presented by the Minister of Roads and Highways to proceed with the expressway construction using the funds of local banks and the services of local construction companies.

The Cabinet was of the view that even though the project is planned with foreign funds, the implementation of the project under the local funds has been found to be more beneficial to the country.

The REP from Kahatuduwa to Pelmadulla to Ratnapura (73.9 km) has been divided into three sections for implementation purposes.

Section I is from Kahatuduwa to Ingiriya (26.3 km), Section II from Ingiriya to Ratnapura (26.2 km), and Section III from Ratnapura to Pelmadulla (21.4 km).

However, the Cabinet on 26 July 2016 decided to divide the expressway into four sections and allocated each section to different contractors and invited proposals from them for the implementation of the project.

– Maheesha Mudugamuwa