Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama yesterday assured that foreign loan agreements and grants along with Foreign Direct Investments were intact. “These loans were neither given to individuals or political parties but were transactions from foreign governments to the Government, Dr. Amunugama said yesterday.
“Sri Lanka enjoys the best of friendships with all countries so nothing will change and neither will our attitudes change,” Amunugama assured. Dr. Amunugama also debunked a Reuters datelined news report published on Monday which quoted deposed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as having said that aid funding of over a Billion Dollars from the US and Japan were now held back with the appointment of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as both Prime Minister and Finance and Economic Affairs Minister.
Dr. Amunugama also assured that nothing has changed since the change of government and said the Government will soon recommence development with donors. The Millennium Challenge Corporation is of course aid from the US Government and the Japanese aid have come in terms of loans which is for the US$ 1.4 Billion Light Railway Project and they will continue.
The Japanese government has already funded the feasibility studies for the Rapid Transport, the Kandy City Development Project and the Digitalization project, he said. These projects were half way through and donors were not going to change their minds or retract,” he said.
He said the Government had decided to provide funding for the Colombo - Kandy expressway Phase III to Japan, despite the very heavy competitive bidding from other countries. China and other agencies were also interested in funding it,” he said.
The Minister said he will get all Sri Lankan missions overseas to promote investments and will be one of their core official mandates. “Sri Lanka’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners will have additional responsibilities from now onwards without merely performing protocol obligations,” he said.
“The mandate of the Foreign Ministry was to negotiate with the passage of time which we will do and go forward,” he said.