The southern town of Hambantota, currently seeing most of the development in the country with an airport, sports facility and convention centre and other mega facilities, is set to witness the construction of Sri Lanka`s biggest investment zone at its port site -- the size being almost equal to all investment zones in the country put together.
All the investment zones (12) together in Sri Lanka managed by the Board of Investment total 2,770.69 acres (1121 hectares) while the new investment zone site at Hambantota amounts to 2,717 acres (1100 hectares)
Investors have currently infused a total of US$1 billion into the new Hambantota port to set up industries in the free port or economic zone that is a customs free area. Following this first call for proposals a second Requests for Proposals (RFP) will be carried out by October targeting $1.5 billion while another RFP will be initiated to build a dockyard at the south port.
The government had bagged 23 qualified RFPs with 13 short-listed following a public advertisement calling for industries to invest in the Hambantota port, Port Chief Engineer Agil Hewageegana told the Business Times.
Negotiations were conducted with 11 companies vying to establish plants at the new port while the other two would be met by the end of the month. SLPA will facilitate organizations or companies intending on obtaining BOI status within the respective zones both within and outside the port.
Industries that would be established are cement grinding plant, cement packaging plant, sugar refinery plant, three petro chemical companies, two vehicle assembly plants and four companies in warehousing from Pakistan, India and Switzerland among others.
The petro chemical companies are to be involved in importing oil for blending and selling while another will be engaged in the import of chemicals for the manufacture of plastic bottles. Transmec and Senok will construct the two vehicle assembly plants, Mr Hewageegana said.
In this respect, two committees namely a Technical Evaluation Committee and the Cabinet Appointed Negotiating Committee (CANC) have been established. Following the conduct of negotiations, CANC is set to submit to cabinet the proposals for approval before the end of next month in a bid to commence the signing of agreements and construction work.