Profitless Rs 3.8B MRICC to be given to two institutions

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The management of Magam Ruhunupura International Convention Centre (MRICC), which was built spending a staggering Rs 3.8 billion, is expected to be handed over to two institutions as the project has failed to garner profit since its opening in 2013.

This was revealed at the recent sitting of Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) on Tuesday (7).

Officials of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) were summoned before the committee to inquire about the Auditor General’s reports and the performance of the UDA.

It was revealed that although Rs 75.8 million was spent as recurrent expenditure to continue operations of the MRICC from 2017 to 2019; the convention centre was only earned Rs 15.8 million as revenue for those two years.

The UDA officials told COPE that the MRICC is one component of the Hambantota Development Plan. However, the MRICC project has become a failure as the main development project plan was not implemented properly. The officials said the convention centre was built using international monetary aid, and the UDA did not invest money for the project.

However, according to the answer of then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa for the Oral Question raised by Samagi Jana Balawegaya, MP Buddhika Pathirana in Parliament in an earlier occasion, Rs 3.8 billion was spent to build the MRICC. A loan of USD 20 million obtained from Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) was used to build the MRICC while the rest of the expenses were borne by the Sri Lankan Treasury.

Rajapaksa informed Parliament that from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016, the convention centre only earned Rs 8.35 million.

BY Gagani Weerakoon and Methmalie Dissanayake