Sri Lankan authorities gazette Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill
The government of Sri Lanka has reportedly gazetted a Bill to provide for the establishment of the Colombo Port City (CPC) Special Economic Zone and is to be presented to Parliament this April.
The 76-page Bill reportedly provides for the establishment of a Commission empowered to grant registrations, licences, authorisations, and other approvals to carry on businesses and other activities in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to be established within the Colombo Port City.
The Commission is to oversee all activities within the SEZ, including identification of a single-window investment facilitator for the promotion of ease of doing business within the Zone, and determine and grant incentives and other exemptions for the promotion of businesses of strategic importance within the SEZ, local media reports stated.
According to the Bill, the SEZ will be an international business and services hub with specialised infrastructure and other facilities for the promotion and facilitation of economic activity, including international trade, shipping logistic operations, offshore banking and financial services, information technology and business process outsourcing, corporate headquarters operations, regional distribution operations, tourism, and other ancillary services, a Daily FT news report stated.
The objectives of the Commission according to the news report, is to promote the CPC to be a leading Special Economic Zone in the region and an attractive investment destination to attract enhanced foreign direct investments into the country.
It is to also oversee the creation of a safe and conducive business environment and facilitate ease of doing business in and from the Area of Authority of the Colombo Port City and endeavour to ensure that the Ease of Doing Business Index in its area of authority is maintained at a level like other attractive economic zones in the region.
The Commission is to also ensure ease of transacting its business operations and administration efficiently, reliably, and transparently to enhance investor confidence; promote tourism and ancillary services by facilitating duty-free shopping, entertainment, and other similar facilities; generate employment opportunities and promote sustainable development.
According to reports, the Commission will consist of not less than five members and not more than seven members, and they will be appointed by the President, under whose purview the Colombo Port City functions.
The appointees are to be drawn from among experts in the fields of investment, finance, law, information technology, engineering, business or accountancy while one member among them will be appointed as the Commission’s Chairperson.
The Commission, in consultation with and with the approval of the President, is to appoint a suitable person as the Director-General of the Commission, who will also function as its Chief Executive Officer.
The Commission is to have its own fund with a sum of Rs. 400 million being the initial contribution payable by the project company to the fund of the Commission, on account of the Commission discharging inter alia the functions of the investment facilitator of the Colombo Port City.
The Colombo Port City project is one of the key development programmes in the country that would take Sri Lanka in to the next level of development. Several leading international business tycoons have shown interest in the project and have explored business/investment opportunities in the proposed new City. Sri Lanka is fast becoming a business hub in the South Asian region given its geographical positioning in the Indian Ocean and the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka as well as in other key economic sectors in the country.
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