MR accuses Government of selling out to foreign buyers

“The manner in which the Government privatised the Hambantota port has shocked the nation. Parliament was not allowed to debate the Agreement to privatise one of Sri Lanka’s most important strategic assets. No one knows who did the valuation of this asset. No one appears to have seen any technical/financial evaluation report. The Government has also not explained to the public on what criteria they selected the company that won the bid when there was clear evidence that the other bid was much more favourable. This headlong quest to sell state assets is a direct result of the economic crisis that the Government has plunged this country into,” he said. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa today accused the Government of selling out to foreign buyers.Rajapaksa said that if things continue in the present manner, Sri Lanka will not have any national assets left by the time the Government ends. He says the sale of the Hambantota port is just the beginning adding that the Mattala airport would be next and other assets like the Colombo -Katunayake Highway, Southern Highway, Water Board and Electricity Board are also due to be privatised.Rajapaksa also denied claims on the land given for the Shangri La hotel in Colombo when he was President. He called on the public to band together and organise in the villages, towns and workplaces to oppose the Government’s quest to sell Sri Lanka off to foreign buyers. “The few acres on which a non-strategic asset like a hotel is built cannot be compared to a strategically important port with four terminals, 12 berths and a 5,000 acre industrial park. The Shangri La land moreover was given on the specific condition that it can be used only for a hotel in accordance with the government’s urban development plan. The Government has also been saying that my Government gave land to a Chinese company in the Port City. The Port City is new land that is being reclaimed from the sea. This land has commercial value but is not of strategic importance like a major harbour,” he said.He also claimed the government will not be using the 1.12 billion USD that comes from the lease of the port to pay the loan taken to build the port. Instead, he says the money is to go to the treasury to meet the day to day expenditure of the Government. (Colombo Gazette)