Written by Lahiru Fernando
31 Jul, 2016 | 7:39 pm
The Sunday Times has reported that China has declined an offer for a debt-equity transfer on Chinese loans for several projects, including the Mattala Airport and the Hambantota Port.
The government however, has lashed out against the report.
According to the newspaper report, China’s Ambassador Yi Xianliang had told Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that it was not possible under China’s laws, and that it should be done through investors on commercial terms.
Further reports said the request had been made at a recent meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management which was attended by the Chinese Ambassador.
However, issuing a press release on the morning of Sunday, July 31, the Department of Government Information disputed the report, claiming that the debt equity transfer on Chinese loans would be implemented in accordance with discussions the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka held in Beijing with the President and Prime Minister of China in April 2016.
The statement issued by Director of Information A. Hilmy Mohamed reads that in accordance with the discussion, in the first instance the Chinese government will promote Chinese firms interested in entering into private-public partnership with the Sri Lankan government in regard to specified projects.
Furthermore, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management had instructed Minister Malik Samarawickrema to discuss the required modalities with the Chinese Ambassador and report back to the CCEM.
The press release has stated that these discussions have been finalised and the report is to be submitted.
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