Colombo, Dec 21 (NIA) – The Sri Lankan government, on Wednesday said China was hoping to set up around 2400 factories in the island within the next 5 to 6 years which would create at least 400,000 job opportunities for the locals.
International Trade Minister, Malik Samarawickrema told journalists that following several rounds of discussions held between the Sri Lankan and Chinese governments, China had expressed interest in investing on a large scale in Sri Lanka.
He said such investments would develop not only the southern town of Hambantota, but would also develop the Uva and Sabaragamuwa Provinces.
“The whole of south, up to Moneragala and Embilipitiya will see a massive transformation,” he said.
Samarawickrema further rejected allegations, especially by the opposition, that the government was transforming Sri Lanka into a Chinese colony.
“All projects will be done under a joint venture between China and Sri Lanka. It is Sri Lanka who will benefit as this will create job opportunities for many generations. China is not going to bring in their own people to work here. It will benefit us immensely,” Samarawickrema said.
He further said that out of the 15,000 acres of land allocated for Chinese investments, in Hambantota, up to 95 percent of it would be state lands which would be leased.
China is one of Sri Lanka’s largest foreign investor with projects worth millions of dollars already invested in Sri Lanka, including a 1.4 billion dollar port city project.
The Sri Lankan government recently said that they were looking forward to stronger ties with China in the coming new year.