A construction site of a Chinese-funded project in Colombo. Agence France-Presse
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka looks forward to benefiting more from the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and is ready to welcome more Chinese investment into the country, Sri Lankan Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga has said.
The Minister told Xinhua news agency in an interview that Sri Lanka and China shared strong relations and Sri Lanka was one of the first countries to pledge support for the Belt and Road Initiative. “To start with, Sri Lanka is fully supportive of the Belt and Road Initiative of China. We have no debate on that. We look forward to benefiting more from this policy that China has adopted.
“We hope more investments will come into Sri Lanka from China. There are a lot of Chinese companies who are looking to invest here, particularly in the tourism industry. We will gladly welcome all of them and give them all the support and assistance to start their projects here which will help our economy,” Amaratunga said. A key project of the Belt and Road Initiative, the Colombo Port City being constructed close to the Colombo Harbour by the China Harbour Engineering Company has generated employment for hundreds of locals and will attract millions of dollars in investments. According to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Port City will transform Colombo into a financial and trading hub. Amaratunga said a joint venture between Sri Lanka and China to develop the Hambantota Port in southern Sri Lanka had also brought in many benefits to the local economy, boosting Sri Lanka’s image as a maritime hub and lifting the livelihood of many locals.
“We have received much assistance from China for the development of these projects and they are now in the process of being further developed.