He was speaking at a function to mark the 38th anniversary of Sri Lanka Ports Authority.
The president said unlike any other government did, the previous regime gave six acres of land in front of Galle Face Green to Shangri-La by permanent deed and also planned to do the same with 240 acres for Port City project.
The present government was able to change the leasing method for Port City, but could not do so for the agreement with Shangri-La, as it had already been signed.
Cabinet approval given during Rajapaksa regime
He also said the agreement signed between Hambantota port and the Chinese company in question was prepared in September 2014, during the Rajapaksa regime.
There were many serious conditions in that agreement, but the present government got them changed in a manner favourable to the country, said the president.
That included halving the amount of the land, its administration in accordance with Sri Lanka government laws and the land being given on lease only, he said.
No previous government had tabled such agreements to parliament, but to ensure transparency, this agreement was submitted to the House, he said.
Members of the now joint opposition got cabinet approval for the previous agreement that was disastrous for the country, he said.
Ministers Mahinda Samarasinghe, John Amaratunga, Sarath Fonseka, Gayantha Karunatilake, A.H.M. Fowzie, deputy minister Nishantha Muthuhettigama, SLPA chairman Dr. Parakrama Dissanayake were among those present.