H’tota Port PPP agreement can be incorporated: Rajitha

Implying that the tense situation that erupted in Parliament last Friday, disrupting the debate on the Hambantota Port’s public-private partnership, was instigated by a diplomatic mission, Cabinet Co-spokesperson Dayasiri Jayasekara said the Opposition had missed an opportunity to propose amendments to the agreement. “One of the Joint Opposition members received a telephone call from a certain diplomatic mission and then all the commotion began. As a result of the incident the agreement was signed without any amendment which could have been incorporated had the debate taken place,” Jayasekara said.

The draft agreement to be signed was tabled in Parliament last Thursday with a debate on the same scheduled on Friday. However, a tense situation that arose during the passing of an amendment to the essential services act resulted in Parliament being adjourned without the agreement being debated as scheduled.

The Cabinet also took another week to study the agreement signed before suggesting any amendments to it, Jayasekara said, adding that the members will also compare the signed agreement with the draft that was approved by Cabinet a week ago.

Stressing that provisions in the agreement give the opportunity for either party to amend the signed agreement if the other signatory was in agreement with the proposed changes, Cabinet Co-spokesperson Rajitha Senaratne said that the Government would undertake making changes in the coming weeks.

Senaratne also said that proceeds from the sale of shares of the Hambantota Port, which total $ 1.2 million, will help boost foreign exchange reserves which will help reduce interest rates and exchange rates.

He also confirmed that the Government plans to give $ 1 million from the proceeds to the rehabilitation of the Kapilawastu Buddhist site in Nepal.

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