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SriLankan Airlines to undergo restructuring rather than being sold: Minister

July 04, Colombo (LNW): Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has confirmed that SriLankan Airlines will be restructured rather than sold.

He clarified that current regulations permit transferring up to 49 per cent of the airline’s shares to another party, but no suitable investor has yet come forward.

During a briefing titled “Collective Path to a Stable Country” at the Presidential Media Centre (PMC), Silva noted President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s recent parliamentary address on the importance of ongoing debt restructuring for the nation’s economic recovery.

Despite some opposition scepticism, the overall message was deemed beneficial for the country. he claimed.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is actively involved in the restructuring process, adhering strictly to legal frameworks and regulations, the Minister noted.

Discussions on restructuring Sri Lanka’s commercial debt are ongoing, with criteria influenced by IMF evaluations of economic resilience.

The Minister stressed the importance of aligning political actions with international realities, adding that the President’s initiatives mark the first steps towards national recovery, aiming to prevent a regression to previous economic challenges.

The budget for this year includes allocations for provincial councils, pradeshiya sabhas, government departments, and social security benefits like “Aswesuma,” independent of election considerations.

Regarding SriLankan Airlines, Minister Siripala de Silva reiterated the focus on restructuring rather than outright sale.

Despite minimal interest from international investors, any potential Sri Lankan investor would need to demonstrate capability.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will discuss resuming their projects next week, highlighting another benefit of debt restructuring.

While Chinese firms have shown interest in the airport project, contractual obligations with Japan stipulate that contracts should be awarded to Japanese companies.

Additionally, the management of Mattala Airport will soon be handed over to a joint venture between Russia and India.

Development at Kankesanthurai port is progressing with a USD 69 million investment from India.

Indian Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, during his recent visit to Sri Lanka, confirmed plans to initiate a ferry service between the two countries soon.

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