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Sri Lanka port strike damaged investor confidence: Eran

Dec 15, 2016 14:51 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT – A strike at Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota port by dockers who prevented two ships from leaving was a ‘treacherous’ act that has damaged investor confidence in the country, a minister said.

Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development Eran Wickramaratne said opposition politicians of the former regime ousted in the 2015 elections were behind the unrest.

The unrest, in which dockers prevented a Japanese car carrier from leaving for four days, occurred just as the government has negotiated a deal to give Hambantota port on a 99-year lease to Chinese investors, he told a news conference.

“The port, built by the former government was a ‘white elephant’ which was making losses as few ships called there,” Wickramaratne said.

“Instead of closing it down, we decided to try to turn it around and continue with it if we can earn a marginal income.  We went abroad and canvassed for business and increased vehicle transhipment business.

“But the unrest by dock workers who disrupted the operation of two ships will affect foreign investor sentiment. It is really a treacherous act. Opposition politicians are behind it.”

Wickramaratne said most of those involved in the unrest were not real dock workers but political supporters of the former Rajapaksa regime.
(COLOMBO, Dec 15, 2016)


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