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SL’s Construction Sector anticipates major revival amidst debt restructuring

July 08, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka’s construction industry is on the brink of a major revival, spurred by ongoing efforts to restructure external debt, C. Joshua, Executive Vice Chairman of Access Engineering PLC disclosed.

Previously stalled projects, which were partially funded through bilateral agreements, are set to resume following the successful completion of the debt restructuring process, he noted.

Joshua underscored the importance of this restructuring in rejuvenating the sector. He highlighted that the completion of debt restructuring, particularly with bilateral partners, is vital for restarting halted projects.

“The bilateral debt restructuring is expected to inject nearly $2.5 billion into the market, potentially boosting GDP by 3%,” Joshua emphasised.

This financial influx is anticipated to provide essential liquidity, allowing large-scale infrastructure projects to proceed and stimulating economic growth.

Contrary to rumours, Joshua mentioned that condominium projects in Colombo and surrounding areas are performing well, with many projects such as Trizen and Havelock City nearing full occupancy.

During a panel discussion hosted by CAL Sri Lanka on July 3, Joshua confirmed that all pending government payments to contractors had been settled.

Jan Kunigk, CEO of INSEE Cement, highlighted the importance of lower interest rates resulting from improved credit ratings to attract private investments.

He cited the commencement of significant projects, including a large warehouse for Michelin, even amid economic challenges.

“We are witnessing positive investment trends in sectors like petroleum and renewable energy,” Kunigk added, showcasing the private sector’s resilience.

Mahesh Amarasiri, CFO of ACL Cables PLC, discussed the burgeoning renewable energy sector, which has become a focal point for investment.

He noted the increasing demand for solar energy projects and related products, driven by electricity sector reforms.

“The renewable energy sector is a new market for us, with rising demand for solar cables and related products,” he said, emphasizing ACL Cables’ readiness to meet this demand.

Despite the promising outlook, the panellists acknowledged several challenges. The brain drain and shortage of skilled labour were highlighted as significant obstacles.

Companies like Access Engineering and INSEE Cement are addressing this issue through comprehensive training programmes and technological advancements to improve productivity and efficiency.

Concerns were also raised about the potential impact of upcoming elections on policy consistency.

The panellists stressed the need for stable and consistent policies to foster investor confidence and ensure long-term growth.

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