The Saudi Kingdom has offered financial aid worth SR225 million for the upgrading of road networks in Sri Lanka.
The draft agreement for the financial assistance was finalized in Riyadh on Monday during a meeting between the Vice Chairman of the Saudi Fund For Development (SFD) Yusuf Al-Bassam and Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Planning, at the SFD headquarters in Riyadh on Monday.
During his visit to Riyadh, Dr. Jayasundera also had discussions with Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Hamad Al-Bazei at the latter’s office in Riyadh. Sri Lankan Ambassador Ahmed A. Jawad also took part in the discussions.
Saudi Fund For Development (SFD) Director Abdullah Al-Shedokhi told Arab News yesterday both parties accepted the draft agreement for the project and the accord will be signed in Colombo in due course. “We have given the green light to commission the project and the formal signing ceremony will be held later,” Al-Shedokhi said.
Al-Shedokhi recalled SFD had offered financial assistance for several projects that are now completed. As part of the current initiative, the official said the Sri Lankan government would build several roads in all parts of the country.
Earlier in a statement the Finance Ministry Secretary said the government is now investing heavily in infrastructure development and rebuilding war torn areas. He said the government is investing rapidly throughout the country. He said Sri Lanka has maintained capital spending to about 6.0 percent of gross domestic product, and this year about 1.1 billion rupees would be spent on roads alone.
With the help of Saudi Arabia, the Sri Lankan government completed a 2.25 billion Sri Lankan rupee epilepsy and diagnosis hospital in Colombo, the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. It has already completed a neurological trauma hospital in Colombo, followed by the construction of 1,000 houses for tsunami victims in the island. SFD had given an additional grant of 330 million rupees for the development of health facilities at the neurological trauma hospital.
Three years ago, the Kingdom gave 440 million rupees for the construction of the longest bridge in the island and widening of a highway in the island. The bridge linked the eastern town of Trincomalee with Kinniya, a village located some 300 km away from the Sri Lankan capital.
The Trincomalee-Batticaloa highway was also widened with the funds allocated under the agreement. So far, SFD has given more than SR1.2 billion for various projects in the country.
SFD had provided Sri Lanka with financial assistance on three previous occasions. It offered SR99.9 million for the second stage of the Water Supply and Sewage project and gave SR48.1 million for the Mahaweli Ganga Development Project System B in 1981.
Subsequently, Sri Lanka obtained 255 million rupees for the Mahaweli Ganga Development Project System B Left Bank in 1984.