Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Mahinda Amaraweera, while asserting that the Government would not be selling the Hambantota Port to any entity, yesterday affirmed that all land for the Hambantota Industrial Park (HIP) would only be given on the basis of a 99-year lease.
Addressing a media briefing at the Ministry headquarters, following a meeting with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Minister said that no final decisions had been taken regarding the lease of land in Hambantota to China. He added that the lands belonging to residents in Hambanotota would not be utilized for development purposes.
Furthermore, the Minister said that thus far only Chinese investors had shown interest in setting up factories in the Hambantota Industrial Zone with an LNG power plant, cement factory and an oil refinery scheduled to be set up. The Minister said that all ventures would be Sino-Lanka joint ventures.
“There has been a lot of false propaganda being spread by certain factions that the Government is selling lands to China. Some have even said that vast swaths of land, adjacent to the port, would be sold as well. All this is false. There is not even 15 acres near the port that can be used for an industrial zone; we will only be giving land on a 99-year lease”
He went on to say that additional land would be acquired from Moneragala and Matara as well as Hambantota to establish industrial zones and factories through foreign investments.
“10,000 jobs will be created in the first phase of the Hambantota Industrial Zone alone. The establishment of these industrial zones and factories will greatly help our nation release itself from the massive debt problem.”