July 24, 2011 (LBO) – A Chinese firm which will invest 355 million US dollars in a hotel and shopping complex in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo will help draw more tourists from the fast growing Asian giant, a government minister said. A Chinese defence contractor China Aviation Technology Import-Export Corporation (CATIC) is being sold seven acres of state-land in Colombo’s ‘Galle Face’ beachfront deputy economic development minister Lakshman Abyewardene said.
He said the government had given 54.4 million US dollars to the government on April 21, and four acres of land has been transferred to the firm.
Concerns have been raised by Sri Lanka’s main opposition United National Party that the lands have been sold without open tender and particularly in relation to the CATIC sale, that procedures set under a strategic investment law has not been followed.
Abyewardene said the delay was due to lapses on the part of the government in sorting out procedures related to the balance land. He said another three acres of land would be transferred when procedures were cleared.
There had been confusing statements about the sale of the land, with statements that 10 acres have been sold at 136.5 million US dollars.