China pledges to speed up Sri Lanka’s  development

Largest provider of FDI’s, preferential loans, infrastructure development assistance


By Zacki Jabbar

Deputy Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ren Faqiang hands over a copy of the book "Xi Jinping: The Governance of China" to Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau Chairman Nandapala Wickramasooriya during a seminar on the book held in Colombo last week.

China wants to be Sri Lanka’s biggest development partner despite the construction of the USD 1.4 billion Colombo Port City Project being suspended.

Deputy Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Ren Faqiang addressing  a Seminar on the  book "Xi Jinping: The Governance of China" in Colombo last week said that regardless of queries over certain Chinese funded projects his country continued to be Sri Lanka’s largest provider of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI’s), preferential loans, communication equipment and infrastructure development.

Chinese tourist arrivals had, he noted, also increased annually and the numbers were growing rapidly in their thousands.

The event was co-hosted by the Sri Lanka-China Social and Cultural Cooperation Association and Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment.

The Sirisena–Wickremesinghe government recently announced that it wanted to continue with the Colombo Port City Project after rectifying the "lapses and procedural shortcomings".

Ren said that political changes would not affect China’s role as an important development partner and its sincere wish to assist Sri Lanka speed up its economic recovery. "Time has proved that China is a true friend and more importantly treats Sri Lanka as an equal partner and that too with much enthusiasm. Without Sri Lankans having to pay a cent, the biggest FDI project, the Colombo Port City would once completed be a mini ‘Pudong’ to attract abundant foreign investments, create tens of thousands of jobs and generate much needed revenue to speed up its development process."

The Norochcholai Coal Power Plant also funded by Chinese loans and constructed by a Chinese company had since September 2014 supplied more than 50 per cent of Sri Lanka’s power requirements greatly reducing shortages and the cost of electricity by a big margin and benefitting all strata of society and the economy, he observed, adding that his country had also assisted in the construction of irrigation works and ports.

The Deputy Ambassador said that over a 1,000 km of roads had been built or renovated with the help of Chinese loans to improve transport. "We have also promoted national communication and reconciliation. In this regard Huawei and ZET, two leading communication equipment providers in the world had made a great contribution to the rapid development of Sri Lanka’s communication sector resulting in much lower communication and internet service charges."

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