Failure to implement the deal with Chinese groups to lease the Hambantota Port would force the government to raise taxes says Minister Lakshman Kiriella.
Addressing an event in Kandy Minister Kiriella says the 1.1 billion dollar investment from China is essential.
Minister Kiriella said land to foreign groups will be leased in Mahiyanganaya and Galle and not just in Hambantota.
“We will receive more than a billion US Dollars for leasing out the economic zone in Hambantota. These funds are necessary”, he added.
The Minister said if those funds are rejected then taxes will have to be raised. “Prices of essential goods will have to be increased and even the VAT tax will have to be increased. We wish to free the public of this burden and obtain that sum from abroad. Does the Joint Opposition want us to accumulate 1.2 billion dollars through taxes?”, Minister Kiriella asked.
Meanwhile the JVP says certain groups are utilising the plight of the people of Hambantota for political gain and the government is using that as an excuse to curtail the opposition to the lease agreement with Chinese firms. MP Vijitha Herath made this statement during a media briefing today.
MP Vijitha Herath said “we also see an attempt to dilute the genuine struggle of the people of Hambantota through conspiracies. The people of those parts have genuine grievances”.