COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Getting environmental and other approvals for the China City sea reclamation was the responsibility of the Sri Lanka government under a deal signed with the last regime, the project company said.
CHEC Port City, a unit of China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) said the Government of Sri Lanka has not invited the company for a discussion over the project review process after ordering it to stop work.
"The Project Company has requested for an opportunity to express its concerns regarding the temporary suspension to the GoSL appointed Review Committee, and is willing to fully corporate with the committee during the review process," the firm said in a statement.
The firm said it had complied with notice to suspend reclamation issued on March 06 and submitted copies of permits and approvals it had within two working days.
The permits were issued by Sri Lanka state agencies including Sri Lanka Ports Authority, the firm said.
Under the deal, "the responsibility for securing approvals and permits relating to the project is vested with the Government of Sri Lanka and SLPA, whilst the commercial risk of the project is being absorbed by the Project Company," the firm said.
The full statement is reproduced below:
Port City awaits instructions from Sri Lankan Government
CHEC Port City, a subsidiary of China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) and the Project Company of the Colombo Port City states the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) is yet to invite the Company for a discussion or issue a directive to the company regarding the project review process, which is currently underway.
The Project Company has requested for an opportunity to express its concerns regarding the temporary suspension to the GoSL appointed Review Committee, and is willing to fully corporate with the committee during the review process.
The Project Company complied with the suspension notice issued on March 6, 2015 immediately and as per the directive given by the Sir Lankan Government, submitted copies of all permits and approvals within two working days. The Company notes these permits and approvals were originally issued by the relevant competent authorities of the Government of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), clearly directing the Project Company to commence reclamation work of the Colombo Port City.
In keeping with the agreement signed between the Project Company and the Sri Lankan Government, the responsibility for securing approvals and permits relating to the project is vested with the Government of Sri Lanka and SLPA, whilst the commercial risk of the project is being absorbed by the Project Company, as the total project development cost of approximately USD 1.4 billion, is invested by the Project Company.
As such, the commissioning of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study and other permits and consents, in keeping with the agreed Public-Private Partnership (PPP) structure of the project, were secured by the SLPA and was then referred to the Project Company. SLPA engaged with the University of Moratuwa, to conduct the EIA. The company reiterates that EIA was commissioned by the SLPA, in keeping with the Terms of Reference (ToR) formulated by a Sri Lanka Government appointed Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) comprising senior officials and agencies from Sri Lanka including the Coast Conservation Department and the Central Environmental Authority, Geological Surveys & Mines Bureau, and the Department of Archeology. The EIA study was approved by the TEC and the Coast Conservation Department, the project-approving agency.
The Project Company commenced construction of the Port City and dredging following the signing of the aforesaid agreement with the Government of Sri Lanka on 16 September 2014 which specifically provided that the Project Company shall commence reclamation work forthwith and after being informed that the necessary approvals are in place as per the letters issued by the SLPA.
The Project Company has prepared detailed feasibility reports that have been evaluated by the international lenders to the project, prior to drawing down of the debt component. Such studies include detailed reports prepared by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) and CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), the world’s largest real estate consultancy companies. Matters relating to infrastructure design, availability and utilization have been addressed by international consultants Atkins of UK, AECOM of USA and SWECO of Sweden, and over several months discussed and documented with Government agencies such as National Water Supply & Drainage Board (NWSDB) and the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).
Further, the land allocation in terms of the concession agreement was negotiated and agreed between the Sri Lanka Government and the Project Company, taking into consideration inter alia all aforesaid matters and in particular, the fact that the total cost of the project is financed by the Project Company.
The Project Company awaits the opportunity to clarify the above details and provide necessary information to the Project Review Committee.