07th April 2011, www.lankabusinessonline.com
The Asian Development Bank would finance Sri Lanka with about 300 million dollars annually over the next few years, with roads, water supply and sanitation getting attention, officials said.
In the past three years Sri Lanka had got nearly a billion dollars of Asia Development Financing, with a peak of 457 million dollars in 2010 with emergency financing for former war torn areas.
Country director Richard Vokes said actual disbursements may fall off slightly with financing for port expansion in Colombo coming to an end, but a new 5-year country assistance strategy now being developed.
ADB financed a 300 million dollar breakwater to expand Colombo port in which the first terminal concession which may bring 500 million dollars of private investment has already been awarded.
ADB is also funding the power sector. Sri Lanka is expecting to provide power to all households by 2012.
"Going forward the expected lending level would be about 300 million dollars a year," Vokes told reporters.
"These may change towards the latter part of the 5-year period."
ADB Thursday formally hands over a section of Sri Lanka's Southern highway financed by the bank to the island's road development authority.
Another section financed by Japan is to be completed by July allowing the road to be opened to the public by late July or early August, Vokes said.
ADB is also financing road that link to the Southern highway.
ADB and Japan has been key funders of roads for decades working closely to help fill infrastructure gaps with Sri Lankan authorities. In recent years however China has also got involved.
Word on a key highway to Sri Lanka's north, the A-9 is now being financed by China. ADB is however financing provincial road in the north and the east.
Next year more provincial roads will be financed in the former war zones in Kilinochchi and Mullativu, Vokes said.
"So roads throughout the country, not only in the north and the east, will continue to be an important part of our program, but we are still discussing which road, particularly when we get to 2012, 2013," Vokes said.
Sri Lanka's RDA is keen to build a faster highway connecting Colombo to Kandy which has been identified as a bottleneck that in slowing traffic and has mentioned ADB as a source of financing.
Vokes said there is no firm commitment yet to finance the highway but discussions were on.
ADB is also financing water supply and sanitation.
"Water supply coverage is now pretty good," Vokes said. "Sanitation coverage remains quite low so those are areas that are likely to be important."
Vokes said water supply was now more widespread but more investment was needed in sanitation.
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