Old Lessons

The government will revisit an annuity model to fund the Colombo Katunayake Highway project, after efforts failed to get former contractor Keagnam back on board. The government will revisit an annuity model to fund the Colombo Katunayake Highway project, after efforts failed to get former contractor Keagnam back on board.

Open bids that were to be called in June were put on hold, halting two years of groundwork after the new government tried to explore renegotiation with Keagnam.

The priority, one project official said at the time, was to get a contractor in as soon as possible and get the project off ground ‘now’ as against a few months down the line.

With machinery and some staff still in the country, work with Keagnam could begin within a month while an open bid could take about six to seven months.

But a Cabinet appointed negotiating committee expressed concern on re-opening the contract on old terms, and lack of transparency in the bidding process if a new contract was entered into.

There were also concerns over Keagnam’s site designs, and the issue of the government raising US$ 127 mn for the highway, if it is to bypass an open tender