Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)

TUs reveal ECT Cabinet paper

- By Sunimalee Dias

The government on Friday rejected claims by trade unions that a cabinet paper was submitted seeking approval to go ahead with the agreement entered into with India and Japan to privatise the East Container Terminal (ECT) of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

Ports and Shipping Ministry Secretary M. M. P. K. Mayadunne speaking with the Business Times today said that his ministry had not submitted any cabinet paper on the ECT.

He noted that only a five-member committee appointed by Secretary to the President Dr. P. B . Jayasunder­a was discussing issues pertaining to the Jaya Container Terminal ( JCT) and the ECT on their activities and their future.

However, General Port Services Trade Union Leader Chandrasir­i Mahagamage revealed at a media briefing held at Maradana on Friday a cabinet paper dated June 9, 2020 which states that the “new government informed the Government of Japan and Government of India that it will honour the agreement (MOC) signed by the previous government only on condition that Government of Sri Lanka of SLPA will not agreeable to borrow further or provide guarantees but will support Foreign Direct Investment in ECT while maintainin­g 51% equity share in TOC of ECT to Sri Lankan ownership.”

The paper also highlights that Adani Ports and Logistics has entered into a strategic partnershi­p with John Keells Holding PLC to develop and operate the ECT.

In this respect, approval is sought to recognise the proposal submitted by Adani Ports and Logistics on the recommenda­tion of the Government of India, the paper said.

In addition it proposed appointing a Cabinet Appointed Negotiatio­n Committee (CANC) to evaluate the proposal within the MOC; authorise SLPA to proceed with the formation of the proposed TOC corporate structure; and grant concession­s in consistent with those extended to CICT.

Meanwhile sources at the Colombo Port also affirmed that this cabinet paper would have been submitted to Cabinet though it is likely to have been shelved for the time being.

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