Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday that both the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank had informed the country that they would not provide any more grants after 2019.
Making a special ministerial statement, the Prime Minister said since the two leading bodies had expressed the stopping of grants, alternative measures had to be adopted to maintain economic development.
“Originally, there was a plan to construct an airport in Kandy,” he said.
“Also the central expressway comprises three tunnels. We will have to relook at them as well. One part of the expressway would be elevated. The expressways built earlier was done by filling the land. This has created environmental issues.”
The Prime Minister said the central expressway was just one of many development projects lined up for the Central Province. He said a tourism and cultural centre, agriculture technology centre, and an IT park would be constructed in the area.
The PM said the government had been able to reduce the cost of the central expressway by Rs. 25 billion. The initial estimated cost had been Rs. 159 billion while the new estimated cost was Rs. 134 billion.
The Prime Minister said the government had decided to borrow funds from Tokyo Mitshubishi Bank to save time. That, he said had been decided by the Department of External Resources. There had been no proper response when tenders were called initially. The Japanese government had given an assurance that it would ensure that there would be response later.