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USAID Taps Sri Lankan Firm for US $9.8 Million Fishing Harbors Rehabilitation Contract

COLOMBO – December 11, 2006:  Taking a key step toward completing its two-year Tsunami Reconstruction Program, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a $9.8 million contract to rehabilitate three tsunami-damaged fishing harbors to a Sri Lankan firm, Access Engineering Limited.

At a signing ceremony today, Access agreed to undertake the rehabilitation and modification of existing breakwaters, new quay and docking facilities for the fishing harbor areas of Hikkaduwa, Mirissa, and Puranawella, and upgrades to harbor facilities.  The harbors are managed under the Ceylon Fishery Harbor Corporation (CFHC).

“This contract puts a major component of our post-tsunami program on the path to completion,” said USAID Mission Director, Rebecca Cohn.  “The improved capacity and efficiency of the vital fishing industry signifies the commitment of the United States to help Sri Lanka rebuild and re-start economic growth and recovery.”

Attending the ceremony were U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake, the Hon. Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Felix Perera, and Teny Mittal, Chief of Party for CH2M Hill, the USAID’s prime contractor for the Sri Lanka Tsunami Reconstruction Program.  In addition, CFHC Chairman, Asanga Abegunasekara, attended the signing, with Access represented by CEO and Joint Managing Director, Christopher Joshua.

“The harbor rehabilitation represents a significant step toward improving the coastal economic infrastructure,” said Mr. Mittal, “which helps create a sound base for expanding livelihood opportunities and sustainable growth to improve the lives of thousands of coastal residents.”

The contract is one of four major components of the USAID Sri Lanka Tsunami Reconstruction Program (SLTRP) managed by CH2M HILL, which also includes construction of a new Arugam Bay Bridge, reconstruction and rehabilitation of nine vocational schools, and development of water supply systems near Arugam Bay.

The SLTRP program seeks community input and consensus in all its plans and builds capacity for operation and maintenance of the improved facilities once complete.  The harbors construction component is augmented by a participatory coastal management program to improve management of the coastal areas.

“We are pleased to welcome Access as partner in our tsunami reconstruction program and to benefit from their Sri Lankan expertise,” said U.S Ambassador Robert Blake.  “Our program depends on the strong capability of local firms in the engineering and construction industries.”