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Colombo’s Port City, ‘city of the future’ rising from the sea

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Xinhua – On the golden artificial beach in Colombo’s Port City, the Sri Lankan Sanjeewa Alwis was earnestly “building” a sandcastle model similar to the financial center building that will be built in Port City.

Noticing Alwis’ “masterpiece” on the beach, three Sri Lankan kids playing by the sea rushed to him to jointly build the sandcastle.

While listening to Alwis, who talked about the sandcastle that was “piled up” from the sea, one curious girl asked: “Can a city be ‘piled’ in the sea? What will this city rising from the sea look like in the future?”

Alwis, who is a project engineer working at China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC)’s Port City Colombo project, has been working here for five years.

The Port City Colombo project, located near Colombo’s central business district, is a large-scale investment project jointly developed by the CHEC and the Sri Lankan government. It is regarded as a model of cooperation between China and Sri Lanka in jointly building the Belt and Road.

Alwis has witnessed the construction of the project since it began. He went to China to study electrical engineering and automation for six years at Tsinghua University in the 1980s.

“I am very proud to be working as part of a Port City project, to (help) build my home country with the knowledge I have got from China,” said Alwis.

In the early stage of construction, one of his tasks was to coordinate with relevant departments of the Colombo government.

To ensure the smooth progress of the project, the construction site needed at least two water sources. With Alwis’ efforts, the project finally got the sources. “Whatever we are doing now will be a sample of Sri Lanka’s future,” he said.

In January 2019, the reclamation project was completed.

“The completion of the reclamation project not only marks the progress made in the overall construction of the Port City project, but is also a demonstration of Chinese solutions and technologies on the world stage,” said Zheng Hao, deputy project manager of CHEC’s Port City Colombo project.

With the completion of land reclamation, a series of new facilities have been built, including a central park, an artificial beach, a sports training center, a marina and a footbridge.

“Port City Colombo is the most promising project for our country,” said Sonala Gunawardana, chairman of the National Library of Sri Lanka.

Tharaka Samarasingha, a young Sri Lankan photographer, said that “I am proud of the expansion of our territory after land reclamation, which will be one of the most important parts of our children’s future.”



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‘Economic Transformation Bill ‘ and ‘Public Financial Management Bill’ to Parliament on May 22 – Acting Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe

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Acting Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe announced plans to introduce two significant bills to Parliament on May 22, aimed at bolstering the country’s economy.

These bills, the “Economic Transformation Bill” and the “Public Financial Management Bill,” are designed to enhance the management of public finances, thereby safeguarding against future economic downturns.

Minister Semasinghe made this announcement during a press conference at the Presidential Media Centre today (20), themed ‘Collective path to a stable country’.

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Macroeconomic policies in Sri Lanka are starting to bear fruit: IMF

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Julie Kozack, Director of IMF Communications

However, the global lender still requires two things from Sri Lanka

By Sanath Nanayakkare

Julie Kozack, Director of IMF Communications, last week highlighted Sri Lanka’s macroeconomic policies, rapid inflation decline, and steady economic growth as commendable.

“Sri Lanka now anticipates finalizing debt restructuring with private and official creditors. Domestic debt operations are largely completed, paving the way for faster-than-expected economic recovery following the crisis”, she said.

“So, just stepping back and giving the lay of the land. On March 21st of this year, the IMF staff and the Sri Lankan authorities reached a staff-level agreement for the second review of the program and also concluded the and also finished the Article IV mission. Completion of the review by the Executive Board of the IMF requires two things. The first is implementation by the authorities of the agreed prior actions, and the second is the completion of the financing assurances review, and that would confirm multilateral partners’ financing contributions. And the financing review will also assess adequate progress with debt restructuring.”

“With respect to Sri Lanka’s economic performance, macroeconomic policies in Sri Lanka are starting to bear fruit. Commendable outcomes include a rapid decline in inflation, robust reserve accumulation, and initial signs of economic growth, while also preserving stability in the financial system. Overall, program performance has been strong. The next steps with respect to the debt restructuring are to conclude negotiations with external private creditors and to implement the agreements in principle with Sri Lanka’s official creditors. The domestic debt operations are largely completed. The initial debt restructuring negotiations with external bondholders ended in mid-April without an agreement, and discussions are continuing with a view to reaching agreement in principle. And on the official creditor side, these agreements in principle still need to be finalized,” she said.

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CMTA hosts forum to explore Sri Lanka’s economic growth and mobility

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On Left - Katsuki Kotaro, Deputy Head of Mission - Embassy of Japan delivers the keynote address. On Right - Thilaka Jayasundara (Secretary, Ministry of Education), Eng. Ranjith Rubasinghe (Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Highways), Bingumal Thewarathanthri (Chairman, Sri Lanka Bankers Association), Katsuki Kotaro and CMTA officials

The recent event organized by the Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA), themed “Mobility and Economic Growth,” brought together key stakeholders and thought leaders to delve into crucial discussions shaping Sri Lanka’s economic landscape. The event, highlighted by a keynote speech from Katsuki Kotaro, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Japan, and a dynamic panel discussion, provided invaluable insights and strategies for sustainable growth and enhanced mobility.

Kotaro emphasized Sri Lanka’s significant strides in economic recovery since the challenges of 2022. He explained that Sri Lanka’s economy has rebounded since 2022, with steady growth rates approaching the 3% target for 2024. Inflation, previously at 70%, has dropped to 2.5%, though prices remain high. Government efforts and IMF support have stabilized the economy. He went on to explain, that Sri Lanka’s practical strategy should involve starting with hybrid vehicles until about 2030, then transitioning gradually to EVs and fuel cell vehicles by 2035, mirroring Japan’s carbon neutrality goals. This phased approach acknowledges Sri Lanka’s current infrastructure and fiscal limitations. It’s crucial to develop industrial policies that support automobile production and enhance mobility while balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability.

During the course of the discussion, Bingumal Thewarathanthri, Chairman of Sri Lanka Bankers Association, spoke about Sri Lanka’s current economic trajectory, and possible risks the country might face. He explained, “We don’t see a risk of not crossing this review. As a country, we’ve made significant progress in several areas, including fiscal policy and the external sector, which has performed exceptionally well. Although there are still areas that need improvement, particularly in debt restructuring, the requirement is to show meaningful progress rather than completion for the second review. Given our advancements, I’m confident that Sri Lanka will secure the $300 million needed to move forward.”

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