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Sri Lanka’s special Port City legislation to be presented soon

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Sri Lanka’s special Port City legislation will be presented in parliament soon, as new laws and regulations are essential for a mega project of this nature, a frontline Deputy Minister of the government disclosed.

“Multiple emerging opportunities have been considered in drafting this new legislation in consistency with the constitution creating an oasis for businesses to be established here to serve the South Asian region,” Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Harsha de Silva told the Business Times.

The Colombo International Financial City (CIFC) legal division headed by former Attorney General Yuvanjana Wijethilake with a cadre of supporting staff has been engaged in preparatory work of the legislation.

A fully transparent Request for Proposals has been made from reputed UK based law firms to evaluate the draft CIFC law and the selected British law firm is being involved in drafting the detail rules regulations of the CIFC in accordance with the common law and in line with the constitution, he revealed.

Finally, the legislation will be drafted by the legal draftsman department in consultation with the Attorney General’s Department.

The financial city will function as a special jurisdiction area with its own economic and commercial laws to facilitate operations of global multinational corporations and grow as a business and financial hub, he pointed out.

According to the new tripartite agreement on Port city, the president will gazette filled lands under the Lands Ordinance and thereafter be allocated to the Urban Development Authority (UDA).

The UDA will declare them as a development area under the UDA Act. This will take place before land is leased on 99-year basis to the project company.

The Chinese investment company CHECL expressed its willingness to invest a further US$ 1 billion in the construction of the first building complex on reclaimed land.

It will launch this project to construct three high rise buildings with 60 floors each.

In a latest development, two MOUs were signed between the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development (MMWD), UDA and CHEC Port City Colombo, in Beijing for funding of the Colombo International Finance City (CIFC) Building Complex on the reclaimed land of the Colombo Port City Development Project and the Underground Marine Drive Tunnel.

The Cabinet of ministers has given its approval in principle to the project connecting from Chaithya at the airport highway and Marine Drive in Kollupitiya by the project company making a further investment on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis.

The project has been designed to expand the existing Marine Drive through this underground tunnel through the Galle Face Green which will then be connected to an elevated highway on the Port City, which will link up to the New Kelani Bridge.

There would also be an extension of the Galle Face Green promenade when the project reaches completion.

The project company has hired AECOM, international engineering consultants and the technical feasibility study is now being conducted in liaison with MMWD, Road Development Authority (RDA), Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA).

Upon completion of the technical feasibility study and cost estimates, the project company proposes to hire another international consultancy firm to carry out financial and operational feasibility study on a PPP/BOT structure.

When complete, the city will have reclaimed 269 hectares with 116 hectares being handed over to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), which is the parent company of China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

The remaining land will be owned by the Sri Lankan Government and will be divided with 62 hectares to be used to set up a financial city and 91 hectares to be used as public spaces.

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