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Development projects to continue – Nalin

Large-scale investment projects will go ahead as planned despite the prevailing situation in the country, Deputy Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Nalin Bandara told journalists today (29).

“We have been able to continue our relationships with investors despite the prevailing situation. Some of the projects begun by this Government are already underway,” he said, at a press conference held at Temple Trees.

Among these projects, said Bandara, is the Rigid tyre factory in Horana which will go into production at the end of this year. The cement factory in Hambantota – a Chinese investment – is now under construction and, according to the Deputy Minister, production is set to begin in August next year.

“Steps are being taken to compile a report on the environmental impact assessment for the Hambantota oil refinery. Soil tests are also being carried out. The investors have not been discouraged by the situation in the country,” he said.

A Cabinet paper was presented last week for a USD 1 billion steel export plant in Trincomalee targeting 80% exports of steel, said Bandara.

“There was some debate at the Cabinet meeting, but approval was given for the Board of Investment (BOI) to carry out an environmental impact assessment. This project will only be carried out depending on the findings of that report,” he added.

The Deputy Minister further said that the high-tech plant is expected to generate some 6,000 jobs, especially for the people of Trincomalee, and will seek to export directly to the United States since heavy taxes are now imposed on China for its steel exports.

“It’ll also be a good way to rejuvenate the Hambantota port,” he added.

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