Hambantota Port deal signing next month

The Government had, more or less, finalised the agreement for leasing out the Hambantota Port to China Merchants and was planning to strike the deal shortly, sources told the Daily Mirror yesterday.

According a government source, two separate companies would be formed to deal with administrative and commercial operations of the port.

The majority equity of the company to be formed for administrative operations would be vested with the Sri Lankan side. Therefore, the source said there would be no need to amend Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act as a requirement to sign the deal.

However, the source said that the Chinese company would possess majority equity in the company proposed for commercial operations of the Port.

It is proposed to hand over 80 percent stake of the port to the Chinese side.

Initially, the Government decided to sign the agreement in January in conformity with President Maitripala Sirisena’s second anniversary in office.

However, the move met with resistance from port workers and the sections of the general public.

Also, some legal impediments arose from Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act.

Afterwards, the Government appointed a Subcommittee to work out a criterion for the deal without leading to any legal snag.

The source said the Government was likely to ink the agreement next month.

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