The United National Party (UNP) said that the former government had not entered into any agreement to sell the East Container Terminal (ECT) or any section of the Colombo Port to India, Japan or any other country.
The party, in a statement today (21), said that the agreement pertained only to the company operating the terminal.
The TOC was to be provided with a set period of time to operate the ECT, thereafter the manner of operations of the ECT was a decision of the Government of Sri Lanka. There is no mention of a sale of the ECT.
The development and operations of the ECT was to be carried out over two phases.
Phase “A” was to consist of the operation of the existing 600 meter quay length with the necessary terminal handling equipment.
Furthermore, the governments of Sri Lanka and Japan were undergoing negotiations to sign Exchange of Notes under highly concessionary conditions.
Accordingly, the loan provided by JICA would be done so at an interest rate of 0.1% for a period of 40 years, with a grace period of 12 years.
Japan has continually funded the development of the Colombo Port since 1977.
The construction of phase “B” with a loan obtained by the Sri Lankan Government would ensure that ownership of the East Container Terminal would be retained.
In the case of an investment in the terminal by other parties, the Government does not have exclusive ownership.
Other details were to be negotiated in accordance with clause 3 & 5 as stipulated in Memorandum of Corporation, by a Joint Working Group comprising representatives of the three Governments.
None of these matters had been finalised.
The decision of the management of the TOC had to be taken jointly by the three Governments.
The Sri Lankan government had the condition that the Indian partner should not operate any other port in India to the disadvantage of the Colombo Port.
This was to ensure that the Colombo Port would retain its status as the main container port for South Asia.
The agreement negotiated by the UNP while in government was one that was beneficial and safeguarded the Colombo Port as the leading container port in South Asia.