Billions as interest

The Sri Lankan government has to pay US$111.21 million or some Rs.11.1 billion as interest for the US$ 307 million loan obtained from China for the Habantota Ports Development Project, it was revealed in parliament yesterday.

The total cost of the project is US$360 million, and of it only US$54 million was financed by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority while the balance funding was obtained from EXIM Bank of China.

Together with the accrued interest, the government will have to pay US$418.21 million to the Chinese Bank in 11 installments till December 31, 2022. The repayment will start next year, with the first installment of US$46.81 million. It will be followed by the second installment of US$45.05 million, the third installment of US$43.29 million, the fourth installment of US$41 million, the fifth installment of US$39.78 million, the sixth installment of US$38.02 million, the seventh installment of US$36.26 million, the eight installment of US$34.50 million, the ninth installment of US$32.74 million and the tenth installment of US$29.23 million.

This information was placed before the House in response to a question by United National Party (UNP) front-liner Ravi Karunanayake.

He charged that the Colombo Port was facing a severe financial crisis with an accumulated loss of Rs.8,900 million and amid such a heavy financial burden, he asked whether it was possible for the government to repay the loan taken for the development of the Hambantota Port.

Responding to Mr. Karunayake, Deputy Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardane said the government had a plan to settle this loan without having to face major problems and added that there was no financial crisis as such at the Colombo Port.

However, Mr. Karunanayake took up the Deputy Minister on this matter.


Daily Mirror