Offer first made to PM in May 2017 in Beijing, says DER

Yuan 2 bn grant: Foreign Ministry not involved


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Foreign Ministry says that it hasn’t been officially informed of Yuan 2 bn Chinese grant (USD 300 mn) offered to President Maithripala Sirisena.

The Foreign Ministry suggested that The Island contact the External Resources Department for further details. Senior Director General/Legal C.A.H.M. Wijeratne, in his capacity as the Information Officer of the Foreign Ministry denied any involvement in the Chinese initiative in response to The Island queries submitted on Sept. 4 in terms of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The Foreign Ministry responded yesterday (Oct 10).

The following questions were submitted to the Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry. President Maithripala Sirisena in late July claimed that China offered him Yuan 2 bn grant (approximately USD 300 mn) to implement a project of his own. The Island would like to know:

(1) Did China officially inform Finance/Foreign Ministry regarding its offer (2) Did Chinese embassy and Finance/Foreign hold talks on the Chinese offer (3) Did Sri Lanka receive similar grants previously from China or any other country?

The Finance Ministry said that the grant haven’t been finalised as project proposals were yet to be settled.

According to the Department of External Resources (DER), China made the offer during the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in May 2017. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe received the offer from President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping. The grant was for the implementation of projects during 2018 to 2020.

DER said that Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Chang Xueyuan had recently held discussions with the officials of the Department of External Resources regarding this grant.

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