Two of the worlds leading Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) manufactures are planning to establish two SUV assembling plants in the Hambantota district. The two companies from Korea and Europe have already sought the Board of Investments approval to acquire lands near the Ruhunu Magampura Port for this project.
Speaking to Daily News Business, National Insurance Trust Fund, (NITF) Chairman Senaka D Abeygoonasekera said these companies are planning to assemble SUV’s in Hambantota and then export the vehicles to the South East Asian countries. The reason for the investors to select Ruhunu Magampura Port at Hambantota is a ‘free port’.
“They are planning to infuse a substantial amount of money for these two projects, creating a large number of employment opportunities for the youth in Hambantota. Some of the raw material needed for their operations such as rubber bushes, rubber based raw materials, tyres and fabric that are used to manufacture SUVs are also to be obtained from Sri Lanka,” Abeygoonasekera said.
“In addition, they have already requested to obtain the NITF insurance coverage for their staff, equipment, buildings and other materials.” he said.
NITF is in the process of evaluating their machinery and buildings and, once the evaluation process is finalized, will be providing the required insurance coverage for them. With these two investments in the Hambantota District, NITF is optimistic that its premiums are going to be over Rs 200 million. Meanwhile Volkswagen too has already forwarded a proposal to assemble vans at the Ruhunu Magampura Port Investment Zone. They are planning to assemble vans with 8, 10 and 12 seat capacity mainly for the local market as vans are in demand.
These Volkswagen vans also would be exported. In addition, the Micro Car Company too has tendered to be the other player in the motor assembly facility at the Ruhunu Magampura Port. Associated Motorways too has expressed concern to set up a Maruti car assembly plant in the area mainly to service the local market.
Meanwhile the Cabinet had already given the nod for an Indian, a Singaporean and a Sri Lankan company to commence operations in the Magampura Port. They are in the fertilizer, (Heyleys Adventis) sugar (Shree Renuka of India) and petro chemical (Peak Energy Ltd of Singapore) categories. They have all been given attractive incentives. The remaining 11 investors are expected to get the Cabinet approval for their “request for proposals” next month.
Port Authority Chairman Dr Priyath Wickrama said that they had allocated 100 hectares for these investors in the premises and they would invest around US $ one billion at the Port.