The Government has decided to launch a special programme to uplift the transport sector in Sri Lanka through public and private partnerships (PPP),newly appointed State Minister of Transport, Diana Gamage told Finance Today.

She said several foreign investors have already shown interest to uplift the transport sector in Sri Lanka through their participation.

Therefore, she said her Ministry had no intention of relying on the Treasury for future investments in the transport sector.

It also aims to provide free passenger transport for all senior citizens over the age of 65.

“Whenever possible, we look forward to implementing all new investment projects in the Ministry as public-private partnerships through our local and international investor network. We are committed to maintaining full transparency and integrity in all our future and current project implementation processes, “she remarked.

She also stated that all appointments in her Ministry will be made purely on the merit basis.

Accordingly, total investment opportunities required for the betterment of the transport sector will be identified and steps will be taken to enter into agreements with investors as soon as possible, she said.

It has been decided to conduct a formal census of all Sri Lanka Transport Board Depots and to use the lands associated with them for productive commercial purposes.

It is also proposed to upgrade the commercial facilities associated with the main bus stands and establish an effective and efficient passenger service.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) continued to carry out several initiatives to enhance its fleet and thereby improve its service provisioning to commuters.

Accordingly, around 213 buses were added to the fleet after rehabilitation during 2021, while Cabinet granted approval to procure 500 new buses for the SLTB under the Indian line of credit in early 2022.

By Ishara Gamage