US $ 5 b investment in Hambantota: 1,235 acres for industrial zone

Chinese financiers are ready to invest US$ 5 billion in the Hambantota Industrial Zone in the next few years and 55 of them have already committed to invest in the industrial zone, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told guests at the foundation laying ceremony for the Sri Lanka-China Industrial Zone Development project in Mirijjawila, Hambantota yesterday.

The Chinese investments are expected to generate 100,000 jobs in Sri Lanka in the next few years.

He said that the Government has to wage an economic war to keep the people of Hambantota and the rest of the country self-reliant and provide jobs to the educated youth in Hambantota.

The Premier said 1,235 acres have been allocated from this zone in Hambantota for Chinese investments to enable them to set up industrial ventures.

Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Ministers Sajith Premadasa, Mahinda Amaraweera and Dilip Vedaarachchi have been entrusted with the task of identifying land for Chinese investments in Hambantota.

He said a losses of Rs 983 million had been incurred in 2014 and Rs. 449 million in 2015 at the Hambantota port since there were no industrial and import and export activities around Hambantota despite the construction of the port.

“When we met the Prime Minister of China, he queried whether there was enough land for the setting up of an oil refinery and to set up industrial ventures in Hambantota. He queried whether there are at least 15,000 acres.

“We agreed with China Merchant Company to give them a share of 80% keeping 20% for us, to enable us to pay back the loan obtained for the setting up of the Hambantota port,” the Premier said.

He said the second economic zone, the South Western economic zone, will be set up between Galle and Bentara.

“We are only giving it on a 99-year lease and not selling the port fully to the Chinese company,” the Premier added.

Chinese Amabassador to Sri Lanka, Yi Xianliang said that Sri Lanka is a great country conducive for various investments. As such investors in China are willing to invest in Sri Lamka in various industrial ventures.

For the past 60 years China has been assisting the development of Sri Lanka.The Sri Lanka and china friend ship and relationship dates back to several decades based on economic political and cultural activities.

Ministers Malik Samarawickrama, Sagala Rathnayake, Wijith Vijayamuni Zoysa, Arjuna Ranathung Ranjith Madduma Bandara Sajith Premadasa also spoke.

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