Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena joining the debate on the Port City Bill in Parliament yesterday said that the proposed Colombo Port City Economic Commission will open new doors to the country’s economy.
The project was initiated on the vision of the then President Mahinda Rajapaksa on September 17, 2014 and Chinese President Xi Jinping who visited the country on the invitation of the President laid the foundation stone for the mega project, he said. He said that this opened a massive path leading the country to economic strength and Sri Lanka joined China’s development process. “At a time when the country’s future was being strengthened by this Bill, the previous regime tried on various occasions to sabotage it, and we went back several years as a result. As a Colombo MP, I am pleased to say that the Colombo Port City has not only brought victories to the Colombo City, but also to Sri Lanka’s map,” the Minister said.
He said that the Colombo Port City is a new gateway for the country where various foreign currencies would be circulated and the country gets paid a fee. “We will pass a Bill that will give approval to establish a set of laws for that. Those regulations would be brought to Parliament,” he said.
He questioned those who claim otherwise on what grounds they base their theories. Minister Gunawardena urged the Opposition to stop making fictitious statements regarding Parliament not having authority over the Port City and urged the Opposition members to assist in building this important financial hub.
He said that many are afraid of China, but Sri Lanka deals with China as a friendly nation. “We have entered into contracts with China as friendly nation. Those who viewed our friendship suspiciously have condemned China from the start. Eventually, they refused to even accept diplomatic relations,” the Minister said. Minister Gunawardena urged the Opposition not to view this situation in the same old traditional ways at a difficult time when the country is facing a pandemic and invited them join the Government in this national endeavour.