The Central Bank yesterday confirmed the receipt of the first payment from China Merchant Port Holdings (CMPort) in connection with the public-private partnership (PPP) with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) over the management of the Hambantota Port.
“Subsequent to the agreement signed between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the China Merchant Port Holdings Ltd., $ 292.1 million has been credited to the US dollar account of the Government of Sri Lanka maintained at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka,” a statement said.
The Government on 9 December handed over the Hambantota Port to a joint venture company floated by CMPort and SLPA in a PPP exercise which entails an investment of $ 1.12 billion by CMPort.
The balance payment will be received within six months.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe officiated the handover of operations of the port to the two joint venture companies – Hambantota International Port Group Ltd. (HIPG) and Hambantota International Port Services Ltd. (HIPS).
The two new companies are likely to invest a further $ 500-600 million in infrastructure development over the project implementation period adding to the country’s FDI inflows.
The Hambantota Port was built during the tenure of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa with a loan of Rs. 193 billion. To date, the port has severely underperformed and recorded an accumulated loss of over Rs. 46.7 billion as at the end of 2016.