COLOMBO: Saudi Arabia provided a concessional loa3eeeillion) to Sri Lanka on Wednesday to establish a fully equipped faculty of medicine at the Sabaragamuwa University at Ratnapura.
The agreement was signed between vice chairman and managing director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Dr. Khaled Sulaiman Al-Khudairy, and secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga, in the presence of the Saudi Ambassador in Colombo Abdulnasser Al-Harthy.
Following the signing ceremony at the Ministry of Finance in Colombo, Samaratunge said that the Saudi funding would help to contribute to the government policy of augmenting opportunities for higher education in medicine in Sri Lanka.
The funds will be used to construct infrastructure facilities and to provide undergraduates with state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities (laboratory and other equipment) that will help provide them with a world-class medical education.
Al-Harthy said that this is one of the several projects that is funded by the Saudi Fund for Development. The SFD has given SR1.4 billion to Sri Lanka as soft loans and grants since the 1980s, he said.
“We hope to help Sri Lanka not only in education; we will consider more such facilities in health, roads, irrigation, community development and agricultural sectors,” Al-Harthy said.
Last year, the SFD granted two concessional loans worth $73 million to Sri Lanka for its higher education and water resource management sectors.
The SFD provided $28 million for the Wayamba University Township Development Project, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways. This project is designed to develop the academic facilities and infrastructure of the university as well as support the livelihoods of people who live in the area around it. The SFD also provided a concessional loan of $45 million to implement the Left Bank Development Project in Kaluganga.
The Muslim World League recently donated $5 million during Secretary-General Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa’s visit to Sri Lanka to help the victims of the Easter Sunday bomb blasts.