Tuesday, 20 April 2021 22:42

Colombo Port City will herald new era for SL Featured

Sri Lanka is set to achieve unprecedented economic gains from the Colombo Port City

which will be transformed as a centre of excellence in doing business with all necessary facilities made for doing business easily available under one roof, State Minister of Finance Ajith Nivard Cabraal said.

Rejecting opposition concerns over the Port City Economic Commission Bill and that provides provisions for the establishment of a Chinese colony in Colombo, he noted that the reclaimed city area is under the authority of the government and the country’s rule of law.

The Economic Commission comprising eight competent and qualified members appointed by the president has been vested with necessary powers to grant approvals needed to set up business ventures at the 269 hectares of reclaimed area without any hindrance.

Chinese developer of the project, CHEC Port City Colombo Ltd has already made an investment of US$980 million out of the total cost of $1.4 billion of the project, he disclosed adding that all investors will be granted tax exemptions and other facilities to carry out their businesses at the city. However he noted that the Government will get 1 per cent of the total revenues of such businesses and the land slots will be leased out to investors for a 40 year period.

There will not be any infringement to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty from the functions of the economic commission which is coming under the purview of the president, he emphasised.

Proposed laws for the $1.4 billion –port city at reclaimed land at Colombo’s sea front have been devised in accordance with the country’s Constitution and it will facilitate foreign investment and doing business.

The proposed Bill to set up the Economic Commission has been given powers for business registrations and it is accountable to the state and the President, headed. This is an investment hub for foreign capital so that foreign investors will have to be given the expected returns for their money, he said pointing out that Sri Lanka needs to come out of its shell and compete with other countries.

Parliament will not be deprived of its control over public finances as the money accrued from the business transactions at the port city will be credited to the Consolidated Fund, he disclosed.

There will not be abuse of power by members of the commission and the president can remove any member of the commission in case of irregularity. The Port city administration will be a transparent system with checks and balances, he said. According to the bill, enactments which shall have “no application within the area of authority of the Colombo Port City” include the Urban Development Authority Act and the Municipal Council Ordinance

 

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