Several investments approved to invest in an industrial zone bordering Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port by the last regime may be offered Trincomalee instead, Ports minister Arjuna Ranatunga said.
“We are discussing offering them Trincomalee (Port),” Ranatunga told members of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Correspondents Association.
Sri Lanka is now developing a plan to develop Trincomalee, a port city in North East Sri Lanka, with the help of Surbana, a Singapore state planning company, which will include the harbor, he said.
He said several industries were given cabinet approval to set up shop in Hambantota by the last regime. The industries will pay fees to the port for loading and unloading cargo and get long-term tax breaks.
China now wants to set up their own industrial zone near the port, which was built with Chinese finance, but there is not enough revenue to repay the loans.
China has identified Sri Lanka as a ‘Silk Road Station’ in its Belt and Road initiative.
Industries already approved for Hambantota during the ousted Rajapaksa regime include a sugar refinery by an Indian firm and a cement plant by a Pakistani firm, but they did not start operations.
Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority Dhammika Ranatuga told EconmyNext in January 2016 that the ports agency had run into difficulty trying to reach the investors, as the deals had apparently not been struck by the principals.