Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama visited the Rigid Tyre Corporation (Pvt) Ltd factory site which is being built at the BOI Wagawatte Industrial Park.

The factory represents a total investment of US$ 250 million with the possibility of increasing to as much as US$ 300 million.

The project will adhere to all environmental protection measures.Since the company is located within the premises of the Wagawatte Industrial Park, an environmental approval has been obtained from the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This complies with the National Environment Requirements. The company will also introduce advanced environmentally friendly technology.

In economic terms the project is also very significant. It will create 3,000 direct employment opportunities and possibly three times as many indirect jobs.

In addition new opportunities for local entrepreneurs have arisen including the construction of dormitories, transport, supply of materials and other services.

The production of tyres will also boost the demand and create increased value for Sri Lankan natural rubber.

The Minister has a brief discussion with investor Nandana Lokuwithana. Mangala Yapa, Board member of BOI, Duminda Ariyasinghe, Director General of the BOI and other senior officials of the Board also accompanied Minister. In addition a number of key institutions including the Road Development Authority, Ceylon Electricity Board and other state institutions also participated. The objective of the meeting was to look at all aspects and potential challenges a project of this nature which is a joint Sri Lanka and Chinese investment, would face when it is completed in an estimated six months.

Minister Samarawickrama said, “We can see the development that is now taking place. Every effort must be made to ensure from the BOI that this project is monitored in every way and that very high standards are met.It is for this reason that we have brought together not just the BOI but also the Central Environmental Authority, the Ceylon Electricity Board, Road Development Authority and the Water Board together with key officials of the BOI to look at all aspects of this project an ensure that it is successfully completed. When a project like this is operational it will send a very powerful signal to other enterprises to follow suit by investing. From our side we will ensure that this project will receive all the support needed, especially with some of the vital utilities that are required. We can also showcase this project as a success story to attract other global investors.”

The discussion also covered some of the infrastructure that needs to be established including the road access to the project, supply of power and of water and other matters. In addition it was agreed that regular meetings would be held with the purpose of monitoring the progress of the project.

Minister Samarawickrama also said the project will meet all environmental standards particularly in the use of waste water and Central Environmental Authority would play an important role in maintaining the high standards required.

Sri Lanka’s exports of rubber products including tyres are worth US$876 million (7.5% of total exports).

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