Colombo, Oct 27 (NIA) – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday said that his government plans to receive sufficient funds to pay off debts caused from white elephant projects constructed by the previous government, so that future generations would not have to pay these debts.
“Most of us thought that our next generations would have to pay the debts incurred for Hambantota port and Mattala airport,” Wickremesinghe said in a statement read out in the country’s Parliament.
“Now, we have entered into a debt to equity swap. Chinese investors have made significant commitments to invest equity in the debt strapped Hambantota Port and the Mattala Airport as PPP ventures. The Government plans to receive sufficient funds to offset these debts. You can now be assured that your children will not have to pay these debts but can reap the benefits of a dynamic, international air-sea hub.”
Some Chinese funded projects constructed by the previous Mahinda Rajapakse government have been termed as ‘white elephant’ projects due to its staggering projects costs and low profit turn out.
In 2014, local media revealed that the Mattala Rajapakse International Airport, funded by China and built in Hambantota, in southern Sri Lanka, recorded a profit of only Rs.16,000 in May, 2014. Forbes also listed it as the ‘World’s Emptiest Airports’.
Meawhile, reading his five year policy statement, Wickremesinghe, while noting that the country was faring better economically despite the global economic downfall, said that international investors planned to use Sri Lanka as an export market to access Europe, China, Japan and USA and the crescent of markets around the Indian Ocean.