A concessionary loan agreement for JPY 12,957 million (approx. Rs. 17.5 Billion) was signed on 7th of July 2017 between the Government of Sri Lanka and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for rehabilitation of essential rural economic infrastructure in North Central, Northern, Uva and Eastern Provinces. The loan will finance rehabilitation of rural roads, small and medium irrigation systems and construction of community water supply systems in remote areas which are not under the coverage of NWSDB.
The project is targeted to rehabilitate 560km of rural roads, irrigation systems feeding 17,735ha of cultivation and provide potable water for over 120,000 people within the 4 provinces. 418 sub projects in these 3 sectors have been prioritized through pre-feasibility studies conducted by JICA.
The project aims to raise living standards and improve means of livelihood in some of the poorest areas in the country, thereby contributing to rural economic development and reduction of regional disparities. Civil Works for the sub projects will be procured in small packages to facilitate small to medium scale local companies to have the opportunity to bid, and also employ local communities.
The loan agreement for the project was signed by Dr. R. H. S. Samaratunga, Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, and Mr. Fusato Tanaka, Chief Representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office. The project is implemented by the four Provincial Councils under the direction of Ministry of Provincial Councils and Local Government.
JICA is the implementing agency for Official Development Assistance from the Government of Japan, and is one of the largest contributors to economic infrastructure development in Sri Lanka. JICA financed 66km of the Southern Expressway and 20km of the Outer Circular Expressway. JICA is currently financing Anuradhapura North Water Supply Development Project to provide pipe-borne clean water to some of the areas most affected by CKD. The loan agreement to finance Kalu Ganga water supply development project was also signed on July 7th.
“At a time Sri Lanka is looking to step up to the upper middle income level, it is important to focus attention on the areas with more vulnerabilities and disadvantages. Sustainable growth can be achieved only if there are growth opportunities to everyone. Rural communities have much to contribute to the national economy. Development of essential rural infrastructure will give the impetus to those communities to realize their full potential. We hope this project will contribute to reducing income disparities among communities so that Sri Lanka can grow, together”, says Mr. Tanaka.