The Japanese embassy has requested the Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) to refund the money spent for the import of four reconditioned waste-collection trucks after the project was delayed for more than three years, the Sunday Times reported.
The embassy has written to the council to refund Rs 14.3 million (USD 83,432) which was given for the import of the four trucks.
“It is greatly regrettable that the project has already been three years late over the schedule and you were unable to implement the project,” the embassy informed Mayor V. Manivannan on the cancellation of the project.
The embassy requested the JMC to refund the total amount of Rs 14,329,446 which was given to buy the four vehicles and cover expenses related to unloading, import, customs clearance and domestic transport.
In April 2019, the Society for Promotion of Japanese Diplomacy (SPJD), a non-profit arm of the Japan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, entered into a “Recycled Equipment Acquisition Project’ agreement with the JMC to provide the four trucks donated by local councils in Japan.
In the partner agreement, it was agreed to transport vehicles to Hambantota after necessary reconditioning and inspection in addition to providing training for local staff on effective usage and self-maintenance of the vehicles.
It was agreed that the JMC would obtain necessary permits and approvals in advance to import the used vehicles. A JMC senior official said one of the main reasons for terminating this project was the delay to get necessary approval from the Finance Ministry.
Former Mayor Emmanuel Arnold who signed the agreement in 2019 alleged that the JMC’s current administration had failed to fast-track the project as agreed by both parties and the failure to do so resulted in the eventual termination of the project.
Attempts to reach Mayor Manivannan were not possible since he is on an overseas visit.
The latest JMC project cancellation came in the wake of projects of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) being suspended after the government declared a debt default in April. Parliament was told recently that some twelve projects were halted until the International Monetary Fund established a roadmap on Sri Lanka’s debt sustainability.