Government insists latest stand on ECT will remain

The Government today insisted that its latest position on the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port has not changed.

Ports Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena told Parliament that the ECT will not be sold to any country and will be fully managed by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.

He said the ECT will be 100% managed by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, while the Western Terminal will be jointly developed with the support of foreign investors.

Stating that a committee was appointed to hold discussions with the Indian firm embroiled in the ECT deal, the Minister said the company had refused to agree to the conditions put forth by the Government, resulting in the agreement being scrapped.

The Ports Minister said the Government’s policy is that it will not sell any assets of the country to foreign nations and will only enter into agreements that are beneficial for Sri Lanka’s economy.

His comments come in response to the Opposition’s calls on the Government to announce its final stance on the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port.

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Hesha Withanage told Parliament today that even though it was announced that the issues surrounding the ECT have been resolved, certain Government Ministers were issuing opposing statements.

MP Withanage said despite the Government’s decision to cancel the ECT agreement, some Government Minister are voicing their opinions in favour of a joint collaboration with India to manage and develop the terminal.

He said this shows there is a conflict of interest between the hierarchy of the Government and its Ministers.

Responding to MP Withanage, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that the Government is clear on its stance of not selling state assets to foreign countries.

He reiterated that despite various opposing statements by Government Minister on the ECT, the Government’s decision remains unchanged. (Colombo Gazette)