Written by Staff Writer
30 Mar, 2019 | 10:03 pm
Colombo (News 1st): The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that Minister Malik Samarawickrama together with Minister Kabir Hashim will leave for Oman to discuss matters related to the oil refinery in Hambantota, which is termed as the largest foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka.
The usual procedure for Foreign Direct Investments, or commonly known as FDI, is for the foreign investor to visit the country, he plans to invest in.
However, there are serious concerns as to whether there is another objective for the sudden visit to Oman by two government ministers on the pretext of bringing in FDI.
Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara Jayamaha during a media briefing confirmed that this project will include the involvement of the government of Oman.
Despite such claims, the subject minister or the government of Sri Lanka is yet to confirm the nature of the relationship between the respective project and the government of Oman.
Oman’s Oil Ministry promptly denied being part of the plan to build an oil refinery in Sri Lanka, and there have been no reports regarding a change in their position.
Director of Silver Park International, S Jagatrakshakan, a former Indian government minister, said he had only submitted a preliminary proposal to the Sri Lankan government to invest in the project and had not finalized any terms.
He further stated that a financial viability assessment of the project is yet to be done, and the equity partners for the remaining 30% of the investment is yet to be sorted. Nevertheless, Silver Park International was only registered as a company, six days after the relevant cabinet paper was submitted to parliament.
Such a backdrop raises the question: Is the ministers’ visit to Oman, an effort to conceal such accusations?
The questionable nature of this project was highlighted continuously by both local and foreign media as well as Transparency International Sri Lanka.
The Government of Sri Lanka has failed to provide justifiable answers to all these questions that have been raised.
Is the sudden decision to send two ministers to Oman, an effort to suppress the truth?
Or is it an effort to fulfil ulterior motives through some form of a shady transaction?
UPFA MP Rohitha Abeygunawardana noted that they hired a minister from Oman and even though they laid the foundation stone, the Oman government is unaware as to how the expenditure for this project is handled. He added that now, ministers Kabir Hashim and Malik Samarawickrama are to visit Oman, to discuss the project after they have already laid the foundation stone.
UPFA MP Dilum Amunugama noted that the government had laid the foundation stone prior to discussions and now they are to leave for Oman for discussions; however, it is a question about what they are going to discuss. The MP noted that any investment that is made will not be a success as long as these corrupt parliamentarians are in power. He added that this government even asked for bribes from those who came to help with the garbage dumps; if they are taking bribes for garbage, what can be said regarding other projects.
MP Keheliya Rambukwella noted that the Oil Minister of Oman was the chief guest at the event, but the Embassy of Oman says there is no such investment. He noted that foreign investors will not invest in Sri Lanka at a time like this. He pointed out that Sri Lanka has not got any foreign investment, and investors will never want to invest in such a disorganized political environment.
Speaking regarding the matter MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara said,
“Oman Petroleum Authorities have denied any involvement in Sri Lanka of a joint venture. This is a serious matter. In answer to this, the government brought down a person supposed to be an authority or a personality from the government of Oman, but he spoke not one word before the public and therefore there is a question that arises whether this was some impersonation. Mr. Jagathrakshakan a South Indian politician, had said ‘I had expressed an interest but nothing positive has been laid down so far.’ Therefore the matter remains a dubious agreement. We raise these issues not out of any personal spite towards the Prime Minister or the government or any member thereof, but for the interest of the public.”
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