Sirisena wants Sino-Lankan deal on Hambantota port to be amended again

Sirisena wants Sino-Lankan deal on Hambantota port to be amended again

Colombo, August 2 ( Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena told the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) on Tuesday, that the agreement that the government had signed with the China Merchant Port Holdings Company (CMPort) on July 29 on  the Hambantota deep water port, will be amended to the advantage of the SLPA.

Answering criticism from the media and the Joint Opposition that the deal, as it stands, is disadvantageous to Sri Lanka because the business part of it will be entirely with the Chinese company, the President said that a revision will be discussed with the Chinese company and a new agreement will be tabled in parliament for a debate on August 8.

He drew attention to the fact that it was at his instance, that the present agreement has a clause enabling the two parties to amend it at any time by mutual consent.

The trade unions have been agitating for the inclusion of bunkering business in the SLPA’s portfolio as it is a profitable one. At present bunkering is to be handled by a company in which CMPort  has 85% share and SLPA only 15%.

The existing agreement was to have been discussed in parliament last Friday, but the debate was not held citing disturbances in the House (on another issue). The agreement was signed amidst tight security on Saturday.

If amended again, the deal with China over Hambantota port will have been amended three times since 2008.

(The featured picture at the top shows the Hambantota port. Photo: Xinhua)