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Sri Lanka Equity Forum » Stock Market Talk » China's Xi offers fresh $295 million grant to Sri Lanka

China's Xi offers fresh $295 million grant to Sri Lanka

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Miss-Sangeetha

Miss-Sangeetha
Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
Chinese President Xi Jinping has offered Sri Lanka a fresh grant of 2 billion yuan ($295 million), as Beijing tries to expand its influence in the tiny island country off India's southern tip.

President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka, a partner in Beijing's multi-country Belt and Road infrastructure push, made the announcement on Saturday at a ceremony to mark the start of construction of a Chinese-funded kidney hospital in his home constituency of Polonnaruwa, 230 km (142.92 miles) from capital Colombo.

"When the Chinese ambassador visited my house to fix the date for this ceremony, he said that Chinese President Xi Jinping sent me another gift," Sirisena told the gathering.

"He has gifted 2 billion yuan to be utilized for any project of my wish. I'm going to hand over a proposal to the Chinese ambassador to build houses in all the electorates in the country," he added.

Reuters could not immediately contact officials from the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka for comment.

The grant offer comes at a time when a Chinese firm is facing heavy criticism for allegedly financing the last election campaign of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa https://www.reuters.com/article/us-sri-lanka-rajapaksa/rajapaksa-comeback-bid-checked-by-sri-lanka-bribery-probe-idUSKCN0PY1PK20150724.

Last month, the New York Times reported that China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) gave $7.6 million for Rajapaksa's re-election bid, which he lost to Sirisena in early 2015.

Rajapaksa, the Chinese embassy in Colombo and state-owned CHEC have all denied the allegation, but Sirisena's coalition government held a parliament debate on Thursday over the report and called for an investigation into the alleged funding.

Sirisena had at the start of his term suspended most of the Chinese-backed infrastructure projects started under Rajapaksa over suspected corruption, overpricing and for flouting government procedures.

But more than a year later, the Sirisena government allowed Chinese projects to resume after a few changes in some of them.

China was among the first countries that stepped in to help the reconstruction of Sri Lanka after a 26-year-long civil war ended in 2009.

Many of Beijing's projects, backed by loans from the Chinese government and initiated by Rajapaksa government, have faced opposition in Sri Lanka amid concerns raised by the United States, India and Japan that China might use Sri Lanka as a military base.

The 2014 docking of a Chinese navy submarine in Colombo raised an alarm in New Delhi, prompting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to boost ties with Sri Lanka and claw back influence in the Indian Ocean region.

Both the Sri Lankan government and Chinese embassy in Colombo have denied any plans to use a southern port now handled by a Chinese firm for military purpose.

($1 = 6.7659 Chinese yuan)

www.businessinsider.com/r-chinas-xi-offers-fresh-295-million-grant-to-sri-lanka-in-push-for-dominance-2018-7



Sources;- Reuters

DS Wijesinghe


Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
Good positive news of a huge a grant benefiting the country. 

China has been a close friend of Sri Lanka for many centuries and we Sri Lankans should be grateful to China for how they stood by us at times of extreme challenges when other super powers like USA, European Union countries looked the other way. 

It's a free grant with no strings attached like the BMICH and Nelum Pokuna Theatre

DS Wijesinghe


Senior Manager - Equity Analytics
Senior Manager - Equity Analytics

Ceylon Chamber chief debunks Sri Lanka’s China phobia



ECONOMYNEXT – China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) trade and infrastructure initiative and investments in Sri Lankan ports could be seen as an opportunity and not necessarily a threat, the head of the island’s biggest business chamber said. 

Sri Lankan businesses cannot afford to ignore evolving international trade patterns, said Rajendra Theagarajah, chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“The most visible of the two or three which are currently happening around us is the Maritime Silk Road initiative of China,” he told the Sri Lanka Logistics and Freight Forwarders’ Association (SLFFA) its 37th Annual General Meeting.

“ I don’t know whether your association is doing anything on this in terms of increasing awareness of the membership or identifying and saying ‘what does this mean to us, is it an opportunity or is it a threat?’” he said. 

Theagarajah said his own research and having been a resource person in about half a dozen “think tank” discussions in the past 10 to 12 months indicates that not more than one in five Sri Lankans have even heard of China’s Silk Road initiative.

China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa through both land and maritime routes. 

 “It is actually a necklace which the Chinese Government is intending to embrace, one in terms of the road connecting the eastern part of China with Western Europe. They will complete the necklace which they intend to cover through Sri Lanka,” Theagarajah said. 

The government of Pakistan is already making use of China’s Maritime Silk Road, despite the internal conflicts they are currently facing, like what Sri Lanka faced for 30 years.

Pakistan has allowed the BRI to go through their country and have managed to get two bids for key infrastructure for the benefit of their country, Theagarajah said.

The Chinese are to invest in something like 4200 megawatts of renewable energy in Pakistan, which is effectively taking care of their entire energy requirements.

“The second thing is that, last year, based on public Google-able data, as a result of this road, cross border trade between Pakistan and the countries which embrace the BRI increased by 15% to USD1.1 trillion,” Theagarajah said. 

“It just gives you some idea of the opportunity regardless of politics, if you embrace something just happening around you.
 
“There are two ways to look at it, is it a threat or is it an opportunity?,” Theagarajah said. 

“I am not here to preach for the Chinese, but I just wanted to make just another comment which keeps on coming up in the domestic press about Hambantota and selling the port.”

Theagarajah said there were fears expressed of the ownership of Sri Lankan ports and the capacity of two of the largest Chinese shipping companies, Cosco Shipping and China Merchant Holding, the key investors in Sri Lanka today. 

“Apparently they account for or they own not less than 20% of port capacity in Europe including 3 prominent ports in Valencia, Italy and in Greece. So again it’s a question of opening one's mind to see whether it is something to be worried about or you make something out of it,” Theagarajah said.. 

(COLOMBO, 26 July, 2018)

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