July 29, 2010 (LBO) – China’s Export Import Bank, which has become a top funder of infrastructure in Sri Lanka, is a tough negotiator that goes through project proposals like a commercial bank while Europe is giving peanuts, a senior minister said. “China will give a 50 million dollar grant and they will not ask questions,” deputy finance minister Amunugama told a forum on foreign aid organized by Sri Lanka’s Institute of Policy Studies.
“But very other dollar has to be negotiations with a very very hard bargaining position. They will not give an inch.”
Exim Bank gives loans at near commercial terms of 6.0 percent a year or higher with added fees which has raised concerns.
But Exim Bank’s ‘preferential buyers’ credit’ has long repayment terms of up to 20 years which is not available to countries like Sri Lanka from international capital markets.
Sri Lanka is now funding and building a sea port, an airport, a coal power complex, roads and railways in the island it is rapidly gaining on Japan, traditionally the island’s largest donor.
It also usually brings the contractor and most of the labour with it.
Amunugama said India was emerging as a large donor to Sri Lanka despite the island having a higher per capital income.