French support for two projects
The Government of France has agreed to provide two concessionary loans of Euro 9.5 million for an Oxygen Concentrator Project (OCP) and Euro 6.4 million for the establishment of a Saline Plant under their Emerging Country Assistance Programme, the Ministry of Finance and Planning said in a media release yesterday.
"The purpose of Oxygen Concentrator project is to provide equipment to hospitals located in the tsunami affected districts of Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Kalutara, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Mullaitivu and Jaffna and remote districts of Moneragala, Ampara and Vavuniya. Once the Oxygen concentrator and theatres are provided, those hospitals can self-sustain in providing services to rural mass. The present over overcrowding in base hospitals could also be eased with the expansion of facilities under this project," the release said.
It also said that the purpose of establishing a Saline Plant is to produce the Saline requirement of the country. In the third year of operation, this project will be able to produce the country’s annual requirement of 6 million doses and make the country self sufficient in saline products. At present the country’s requirement of saline is imported at a cost of US$ 2.5 million a year.
These two projects are financed under very concessional interest rate of 0.6 per cent per annum with 20 years repayment period including 5 years grace period, the Finance Ministry said.
The singing of the agreement for the two projects took place at the Ministry of Finance and Planning yesterday. Sumith Abeysinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning signed on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and Ambassador for France, Michael Lummaux signed on behalf of the Government of France.