Sri Lanka’s construction industry earlier this week heard a call for an innovative funding mechanism to attract investment from foreign and domestic sources helped by the creation of a special Development Construction Bank.
Chamber of Construction Industry President Surath Wickremasinghe, making this proposal, said the creation of a special bank to provide initial capital to “kick start” development projects in infrastructure, urban renewal and urban regeneration is now a pre-requisite for rapid development of Sri Lanka.
“It is pertinent to mention that China, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia to name a few countries have through Development / Construction Banks funded their mega projects and developed their construction industry and their countries. We must follow this example,” he told the chamber’s annual general meeting in Colombo.
He said this bank could also facilitate to promote balanced development in the country to reduce the disparity between provinces and enhance the “Prosperity Index”. “Consequently, major projects that may need initial seed capital could also be funded if viable through this bank,” he added.
He said the Urban Regeneration Project at Panchikawatte, due to lack of seed capital cannot commence despite it being viable and attractive to developers to invest up to Rs.80 billion. When implemented, the benefits will be enormous not only by transforming part of the city but also in the areas of socio economic, infrastructure and environmental upgrading, employment opportunities, transfer of technology, capacity building of local firms and several other aspects.
It is also possible to package similar projects for implementation in other parts of Colombo like Pettah, Slave Island, Colpetty, Borella, Wellawatte, etc, he added.