Sri Lanka, China sign tripartite pact to construct mega port city

Sri Lanka and China on Friday signed a tripartite agreement to proceed with the construction of a mega multi billion dollar port city project in capital Colombo.

The agreement was signed between Sri Lanka's Urban Development Authority, the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development and the China Harbour Engineering Company, Xinhua news agency reported.

With the signing of the agreement, the Colombo Port City Development Project was newly renamed as the Colombo International Financial City with the government stating that the project would transform Sri Lanka into an international financial hub in the Indian Ocean region.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Champika Ranawaka said that the Colombo International Financial City, which will be in the centre of the maritime city, will be one of the key phenomenon which will decide the future development of Sri Lanka.

He added that the project would also fuel the planned Maritime city, Aero city, Tech city, Industrial cities and Tourist cities.

Ranawaka further said that it was essential for any strategically located country to introduce new maritime corridors and economic partnerships with many countries for its economic activities.

Speaking on the same occasion, Chairman of the CHEC Tang Qiad Liang said that the positive changes made to the original agreement of the Colombo Port City which was signed in 2014 was a reflection of CHEC's willingness at all times to work closely with the Sri Lankan government to ensure that the project has mutual long term benefits to the investor and the country.

The $1.4 billion Port City project which initially began construction in September 2014 under the former government was suspended in March 2015 by President Maithripala Sirisena's government due to environmental concerns.

However, in March 2016, the project was given a nod from the government stating that the project would convert Sri Lanka into an international hub in the region.

The project which has now been expanded to 269 hectares under the new Tripartite agreement will include central parks and beaches for the public. The project is also expected to create thousands of jobs in the island country.