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Sunday December 4th, 2022

China delayed loan to Sri Lanka expressway for 4.5 years: ex-highways minister

ECONOMYNEXT – China delayed a loan for an expressway to Kandy for 4.5 years though the building contract was awarded to a Chinese contractor was re-confirmed during his time, former Sri Lanka Highways Minister Lakshman Kiriella said.

Sri Lanka’s central expressway which runs from Colombo to Kandy and is then expected to run to Jaffna is being built in three segments.

“We started the expressway from Kadawatha. The project had three stages. Kadawatha to Meerigama, Meerigama – Kurunegala and Pothuhera – Galagedara,” Kiriella told parliament during the highways ministry vote.

“In 2014, the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa had decided to award the first segment of the project to a Chinese company called MCC (China Metallurgical Group Corporation). There was an agreement in 2014. So we gave it to MCC.”

“But the Chinese government did not give money.

“They delayed it intentionally (Hithar matharmer parakk-ku keruwar). For four and a half year the Chinese government did not give the money,” he claimed.

Kiriella served in the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration which suspended the Colombo Port City Project. Sri Lanka then had to allow the Chinese firm to reclaim more land as compensation, reports said.

The administration also had a dispute with MCC over the construction cost of the outer circle highway in the capital Colombo.


China’s MCC gets part of Sri Lanka central expressway contract

China’s MCC rejects slashed price of Sri Lanka highway contract

Sri Lanka signs billion dollar loan from China for expressway

China however gave an 800 million dollar budget support loan to Sri Lanka during the last administration.

Kiriella said a second segment of the Central Expressway was given to local construction companies to be built with domestic financing.

“Then the second segment Meerigama to Kurunegala was given to local constructors,” he said. “And we built 37 kilometers out of the 40 kilometers. Only 3 kilometers remain to build. This government is still struggling to build that part.”

He said it was the first time domestic contractors had been allowed to build expressways.

Kiriella said the third section was supposed to be built with financing from Japan by Taisei, but it ran into controversy.

“In 2016 we were planning to start the constructions prior to Kandy Perahera. We gave the contact to the Company called Taisei,” Kiriella said.

However, with due loan repayments from the Sri Lanka the Taisei Company withdraw from keeping the Bid Bond to take the contract.

“Normally 10 percent should be placed as the bid bond but this Taisei company did not do that.” Kiriella said.

“They said the Sri Lankan government already owed them money and cannot place any bid bonds. This was in 2016.”

“Then several controversies took place between our party leaders regarding this and in due time the government changed.”

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Paris Club proposes 10-year moratorium on Sri Lanka debt, 15 years of debt restructuring

ECONOMYNEXT — The Paris Club group of creditor nations has proposed a 10-year debt moratorium on Sri Lankan debt and 15 years of debt restructuring as a formula to resolve the island nation’s prevailing currency crisis, India’s The Hindustan Times reported.

While the Paris Club has yet to formally reach out to India and China, Colombo has yet to initiate a formal dialogue with the Xi Jinping regime, the newspaper reported on Saturday December 03, inferring that the chances of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approving its 2.9 billion dollar extended fund facility for Sri Lanka in December now ranges from very low to nonexistent.

“This means that Sri Lanka will have to wait for the March IMF meeting of the IMF before any aid is extended by the Bretton Woods institution,” the newspaper reported.

“Fact is that for Sri Lanka to revive, creditors will have to take a huge hair cut with Paris Club clearly hinting that global south should also take the same cut as global north notwithstanding the inequitable distribution of wealth. In the meantime, as Colombo is still to get its act together and initiate a dialogue and debt reconciliation with China, it will need bridge funding to sustain the next three month before the IMF executive board meeting in March 2023. Clearly, things will get much worse for Sri Lanka before they get any better—both economically and politically,” the report said. (Colombo/Dec04/2022)

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Sri Lanka’s Ceylon tea prices up amid low volumes

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka tea prices picked up at the last auction in November amid low volumes, brokers said.

“Auction offerings continued to record a further decline and totalled 4.2 million Kilograms, of which Ex-Estate offerings comprised of 0.6 million Kilograms. There was good demand,” Forbes and Walker Tea brokers said.

“In the Ex-Estate catalogues, overall quality of teas showed no appreciable change. Here again, there was good demand in the backdrop of extremely low volumes.”

High Growns

BOP Best Westerns were firm to 50 rupees per kg dearer. Below best and plainer types were Rs.50/- per kg easier on last.

Nuwara Eliya’s were firm.

BOPF Best Westerns were firm to selectively dearer. Below best and plainer teas declined by 50 rupees per kg.

Uva/Uda Pussellawas’ were generally firm and price variances were often reflective of quality with the exception of Select Best Uva BOPF’s which were firm and up to 50 rupees per kilogram dearer.

CTC teas, in general, were mostly firm.

“Most regular buyers were active, with perhaps a slightly more forceful trend from the local trade,” brokers said.

Corresponding OP1’s met with improved demand. Well-made OP/OPA’s in general were fully firm, whilst the Below Best varieties and poorer sorts met with improved demand. PEK/PEK1’s, in general, were fully firm to selectively dearer.

In the Tippy catalogues, well-made FBOP/FF1’s sold around last levels, whilst the cleaner Below Best and cleaner teas at the bottom appreciated. Balance too were dearer to a lesser extent.

In the Premium catalogues, very Tippy teas continued to attract good demand. Best were firm to selectively dearer, whilst the Below Best and cleaner teas at the bottom appreciated

Low Growns

Low Growns comprised 1.8 million Kilograms. Market met with improved demand, in general.

In the Leafy & Semi Leafy catalogues, select Best BOP1/OP1’s were fully firm, whilst the Below Best/bolder BOP1’s were barely steady.

Low-grown teas, farmed mainly by smallholders and exported to the Middle East and Central Asia, are the most sought-after and expensive Ceylon Teas.

Low-grown CTC prices have gained this week to 982.80 per kilogram this week from 934.76 per kilogram last week.

Few Select best BOP1s maintained, whilst best and below best were irregularly lower. Poorer types maintained.

BOPF’s in general, firm market.

FBOPF/FBOPF1’s select best and best increased in value, whilst the below best and bottom held firm.

Selected best BOP1’s maintained, whilst best and below best were irregularly lower.Poorer types maintained.

OP1’s selects best together with best and below best were firm to dearer. Poorer sorts were fully firm.

Medium Growns

BOPF’s, select best gained by 50 rupees per kilogram. Others maintained.

BOP1’s select best dearer by 100 rupees per kg whilst all others moved up by 50 rupees per kg.

OP1: select best gained by 100 rupees per kg whilst all others dearer by 100 rupees per kg.

OP/OPA’s in general, dearer by 50 rupees per kg whilst the poorer sorts were firm.

PEK’s Select best gained by 50 rupees per kg whilst all others maintained. PEK1: In general, dearer by 50 rupees per kg. (Colombo/Dec 04/2022)



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Sri Lanka Ports Authority East Terminal contractor paid: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ports Authority had paid a deposit for a gantry crane and made the required payment for the contractor to complete building the East Container Terminal, Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva said.

The East Container Terminal, a part of which is already built is being completed as a fully SLPA owned terminal at a cost of 480 million dollars Ports and Shipping Minister de Silva said.

“ECT we are funding with money available in the ports authority,” he said.

“Up to now we have paid an advance for the gantry crane. And for the construction we have paid all the money agreed with the contractor. So that is going on well.”

Sri Lanka is undergoing the worst currency crisis in the history of the island’s soft-pegged (flexible exchange rate) central bank which has created difficulties in funding the project.

“Every penny we collect as dollars we are keeping them separately and utilizing that for the Eastern Terminal work,” Minister de Silva said.

“We are confident that the ECT will be completed within the envisaged time. It is a difficult task in view of the dollar problem.

Banks were also not releasing the dollar deposits of the SLPA earlier but are now doing so, he said.

“Our deposits in banks they have utilized for urgent other national purposes,” he said.

“So they are releasing that money slowly. I am happy that they are releasing that money little by little. So with that we will be able to manage that.”

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