28th March 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com
The Sri Lankan government is seeking private investment proposals to modernise the neglected transport system and will give investors speedy approvals, a senior official said.
A new transport master plan is being prepared to economically move people and freight, said Dhammika Perera, secretary to the ministry of transport.
Investments are needed to modernise the existing infrastructure and systems which were neglected owing to a 30-year ethnic war that ended in May 2009.
Perera, a former head of the island's investment promotion agency, said the government had its own investments under the master plan but was also open to proposals by the private sector.
Perera, also a businessman and well-known investor in the stock market, promised speedy approvals to private sector investments, in contrast to the usual bureaucratic delays that investors face.
"Any private sector proposal - we can give an immediate 'yes' or 'no' answer," Perera told the business and the investor community at a transport and logistics forum Monday organised by the Shippers’ Academy Colombo.
"If we say 'yes' they can invest. You can come and meet me (any time). There are no pending files on my desk."
Perera said private sector investors willing to invest in the railway sector were particularly welcome.
The new 30-year master plan envisages an integrated national transportation system that will support Sri Lanka's aim of becoming a regional logistics hub.
"The existing transport system is a result of years of neglect, mainly due to lack of an integrated national transportation system," Perera said.
"Affordability of transport a is core consideration and prime factor in shaping the transport plan the ultimate outcome of which is a better quality of life for all Sri Lankans."