Real position to be made known soon - Bandula Gunawardene | Sunday Observer
East Container Terminal development

Real position to be made known soon - Bandula Gunawardene

3 January, 2021

Trade Unionists are agitating against the development of the East Container Terminal (ECT) without knowing the ‘real truth’ about it, Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardene told Sunday Observer Business on Friday.

Trade Unions attached to the Colombo Port have organised protests for weeks now, objecting to the proposed joint investment between India and Sri Lanka to develop the ECT. Trade unions allege that the Government is trying to sell the ECT to satisfy the geo-political needs of China and India.

“The previous government had a secret deal on the ECT. Ports Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena has all the information on it. We will release it to the country soon,” Minister Gunawardena said.

As Foreign Direct Investments are important for world class competition and development, governments should not take geo-political demands into account where economic activities are concerned, Senior Economist Dr. Priyanga Dunusinghe told Sunday Observer Business. Asked about the ongoing turmoil with regard to the ETC, Dr. Dunusinghe said, A PPP model could be the right direction in developing the ECT.

“We need foreign investments. There is no argument on that. But we cannot take economic decisions based on geo-political needs.”

“Governments try to please other nations by giving them control over national assets.

“That is the best explanation to the ongoing discussion to hand over the management of ECT to an Indian company,” he said. Despite several attempts, Minister Abeygunawardena and Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Daya Ratnayake were not available for comment.

However, a senior official of the SLPA denied that the government had granted approval for India to develop the ECT.

Two committees had been set up to revaluate the development including the proposals and investment opportunities submitted by local companies.