Sri Lanka Secures Rs. 20 Billion from Asian Development Bank for Rural Road Renovations

Bandula Gunawardana

In a significant move towards infrastructural development, the renovation of dilapidated rural roads across the country is planned to commence next week, Minister of Transport, Highways & Mass Media said on Thursday (November 30).

Addressing a news conference at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC), Minister Bandula Gunawardana said this ambitious project, aimed at reviving essential transportation networks, has received substantial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which has agreed to provide a loan amounting to nearly Rs. 20 billion.

He also emphasized the pivotal role the loan will play in rejuvenating the nation’s road infrastructure.

Gunawardana highlighted that the timely disbursement of funds would enable the commencement of road reconstruction work within the next week.

The minister also disclosed key developments in the country’s debt restructuring efforts. France’s Lazard, renowned for its international expertise, has been selected to spearhead the debt restructuring process, while Clifford Hans Company will handle legal matters arising from non-payment of international debts.

Minister Gunawardana revealed that fruitful discussions with creditors had taken place, with President Ranil Wickremesinghe seeking support from Japan, India, and China during official foreign visits.

Celebrating a milestone for the nation, Minister Gunawardana declared that the international community has officially endorsed the debt restructuring process in Sri Lanka. He expressed confidence that this victory would breathe new life into stalled projects across the island, including the resumption of work on deteriorating roads, bridges, and flyovers.

The minister acknowledged the diverse opinions surrounding railways and highways, emphasizing the need for modernizing railway tracks for efficient operation. He provided insights into the efforts to operationalize 123 out of 160 railway carriages imported under an Indian loan scheme, with plans for repairing the remaining cabins.

Gunawardana underscored the necessity of relying on domestic and foreign loans for the country’s development projects, citing the insufficient economic strength to allocate to such initiatives independently. He advocated for the digitization of government revenue-generating institutions, including ports, airports, and the income tax department, as a crucial step toward economic recovery.

The minister envisioned a digitally transformed Sri Lanka, likening the move to the administrative models of advanced nations like the United States and the United Kingdom.

As the country anticipates the initiation of rural road renovation and embraces debt restructuring measures, Gunawardana’s announcements mark a significant stride towards fostering economic growth and infrastructural development in Sri Lanka.

(President’s Media)