Colombo Port City Economic Commission forging ahead

  • Releases 6 plots out of 31 based on a 99-year lease, generating $200M in revenue with a collective investment commitment of $600M
  • Receives 31 of the 74 plots technically completed by the project company
  • Identifies the 74 main development plots as enterprises of strategic importance, entitled to the maximum benefits authorized under article 52 of the CPCEC law
  • The establishment of the Colombo International Financial Center in February and associated exchanges will soon boost the flow of foreign currency through the port city
  • Construction work has begun on the region’s first Downtown Duty-Free (DF) shopping mall, operated by two of the world’s leading operators, reinforcing Colombo Port City’s positioning as a regional shopping destination

The Colombo Port City Economic Commission (CPCEC) has, in the first six months of operation, made significant progress both in terms of commercializing Southeast Asia’s most ambitious mixed-use development and finalizing world-class best practices to expedite approvals and investor facilitation. .

Appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in June last year, CPCEC received 31 out of 74 technically completed plots from the Project Company – CHEC Port City Colombo Ltd.

In turn, the commission released six of the 31 plots on a 99-year lease basis, generating $200 million in revenue with a collective investment commitment of $600 million.

The seven-member commission headed by Gamini Marapana PC also identified the 74 primary development plots as enterprises of strategic importance, entitled to the maximum benefits allowed under Article 52 of the CPCEC Law.

In terms of actual projects, the commission said construction work has begun on the region’s first Downtown Duty-Free (DF) shopping mall, operated by two of the world’s leading DF operators, positioning the port city of Colombo as a a regional commercial destination. Overall, the Port City project heralds a new era of development in line with the vision of “Building a World-Class City for South Asia”.

Key initiatives aimed at accelerating investment facilitation include the incorporation of shell companies designated by Special Port City to facilitate investor transfers, establishment of designated banking licensing conditions, authorization of safe and unrestricted currencies for investments in the port city and expediting approval, investor agreement and licensing processes for potential investors and authorized persons.

“The absence of restrictive exchange controls, a preferential tax system with zero personal income tax, foreign currency (FC) compensation and flexible long-term visas for foreign workers and their families coupled with the mode of Sri Lankan life have generated significant in the project from international investors,” a Commission spokesperson told the Daily FT.

He said the establishment of the Colombo International Financial Center in February 2022 and associated exchanges would soon boost the flow of foreign currency through the port city, creating jobs and adding substantial value to the wider economy over time. time.

“Our current focus is to identify and create compelling value propositions in physical infrastructure development, banking and financial services, knowledge export and other key sectors, targeting reputable anchor investors in everyone,” said a Commission spokesperson.

He said the Commission strives for transparent and efficient processes in business formation, condominium, gaming and leisure activities and city management that would be globally competitive and welcomes all contributions. to the achievement of its objectives.

During the first six months, the Commission earned income to repay the rupees in full. Advance of 400 million received for its implementation.

Other initiatives completed include the appointment of an internationally recognized accounting firm to manage the finances of the Commission and the Commission Fund; and the appointment of an internationally renowned audit firm to carry out the statutory audit of the Commission and the Commission Fund. The commission has also engaged world-class consulting firms to develop policies and procedures tailored to identified priority sectors and to design the best regulations in tax and non-tax areas.

In addition, the Commission offered the Center for the Settlement of International Commercial Disputes to international operators within the framework of a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Justice.

A streamlined customs process for the clearance of capital goods and consumables in the port city has been designed, while the commission has also initiated one-stop-shop facilitation discussions with relevant government departments and provided, as part of from a pilot project, full service (port health, immigration, customs, and International Ship and Port Facility Security Code) to the arrival of the first super-yacht “Kalizma” from the port city to the international marina on square.

A special e-commerce and virtual city concept for the port city has been developed and submitted for peer review to the Government of Sri Lanka, while the Commission has partnered with a leading global technology company to deploy a platform – cutting-edge digital form for all – inclusive investor engagements.

The spokesperson said the Commission is working with SLASSCOM to make IT/KPO a push sector for the port city by developing policies conducive to attracting world-class technology companies to invest in the port city and to s partner with Sri Lankan companies for maximum knowledge creation. , transfer and export centered around a “Colombo Tech City” concept promoting the national will to make Sri Lanka a green IT hub.

The commission also engaged the Sri Lankan Air Force on flight control management for commercial and emergency (rotorcraft-vertical) flight movements to and from the port city, while conducting separately a feasibility study with the Sri Lankan Navy on the definition of management protocols for access to the sea and concerning the inland waterways of the Port City.

As part of capacity building, several international and local candidates were shortlisted for final interviews for the post of Director General of the Commission.

During the first six months, the committee organized many international promotional events (Red Bull Outrigged 2021, visit of the President and the delegation of the FIFA Federation, launch of the LPL Cricket, visit of the President and the delegation of ‘Asia Rugby) and authorized several other temporary activities in progress, thus improving the visibility of the project.

The Port City Economic Commission includes Chairman Gamini Marapana PC, Treasury Secretary SR Attygalle, Water Supply Ministry Secretary Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama, former Investment Board Chairman Saliya Wickramasuriya, Chairman/CEO of Orel Corporation Kushan Kodituwakku, Mercantile Investment and Finance MD Gerard Ondaatjie and Rohan de Silva, Chairman and CEO of McLarens Group.

Aurora J. William