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Majority portion of loan taken for Colombo Lotus Tower settled

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Majority portion of the loan taken to build the Colombo Lotus tower has now been settled and only USD 14 million is to be settled disclosed Chief Executive office Colombo Lotus Tower Management Major General (Rtd) Prasad Samarasinghe.

He said that when the project was first initiated in 2012 it was estimated to cost USD 104 million and when it was completed it was estimated to be around USD 113 million. Out of this a loan was offered for USD 88 million via the Exim Bank of China and the Telecom Regulatory Commission with government funded balance amount. He however said that the project was stalled due to various reasons and when they took it over on a long term lease it was in a very dilapidated state making colossal losses. “However in a few months we turned it around and today we are proud to say that we provide around Rs. 100 million rentals to TRC.”

He also said that since the opening of the lotus tower over 1.3 million Sri Lankans have visited the tower along with around 40,000 foreign guests. Today State Minister for Finance Shehan Semasinghe said that this is a typical example of a successful private partnerships venture which is an overwhelming success. “This is what this government wants to do in the future to convert abandoned and nonprofit making ventures and convert them to profitable ventures.”

State Minister for Investment Promotion Dilum Amunugama said that the making a historic occasion the Lotus Tower will launch South Asia’s tallest revolving resultant on December 17. Simultaneously a banquets hall too would be open. “He said that they made international tenders to woo investors but due to the economic situation none responded and out of the three local investors Citrus Leisure was given to manage this.

“They will own 0% of these two ventures while the Lotus Tower management which invested Rs. 200 million towards this will be the other partner.”

Executive Director CEO Citrus leisure L. Chandana Talwatte said that the revolving restaurants could accommodate 225 guests at a time and they hope to serve two serving lunches and dinners daily on a buffet style. “Our prices will be on par with five star hotel rates.”

Minister Semasinghe lashes out at Verité Research Survey

State Minister for Finance Shehan Semasinghe lashed out at a Verité Research Survey released on Wednesday under the subject of ‘EPF returns’ and said that there was no indication as to how the survey was conducted and the findings were tabulated.

The minister makes the point that the questionnaire that was given to them and the sample chosen for the pertinent poll should be taken into account in this situation. He said that though the survey said that people did not have many positive sentiments towards ‘Reducing EPF returns’ if this was not done the country would have gone to a far worse situation than the economic crises that was evident last year. The domestic debt restructuring safeguarded the 57.2 million bank accounts held by Sri Lankan customers, as well as the Employees’ Provident Fund and Pension Funds. The Verité research has not asked any comments on these aspects.

“I can recall that this the same Verité Research Survey did a survey before the ‘implementation of the IMF reforms’ and the survey results were based on interviews and done with only 1,200 people when there is a population of over 22 million.

There are rating agencies that have posted negative reviews/Perditions and surveys on Sri Lanka but do not have anything against them since we know that they were done with proper research and extracting data from credible sources.”

The Minister said that the though Verité Research calls them independent he does not think so and accused that there is political force behind it. “When this kind of ‘unprofessional’ research is put out they may also have a negative impact on investments too.”

The Minister conveyed confidence that the second installment of the extended loan that the IMF is offering Sri Lanka will be approved by the Executive Committee without delay. (SS)

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