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Special Laws for Port City by Year-End - CHEC Strategy Head

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Colombo Port City (CPC) should benefit from special economic zone laws being implemented by the end of this year, hopes a top official connected to the project.

CHEC Port City Colombo, Head of Strategy & Business Development Thulci Aluwihare, speaking at a webinar on CPC hosted by PwC Sri Lanka, stated, "The new Government headed by Gotabaya Rajapakse under the premiership of Mahinda Rajapakse appointed a three-member Cabinet committee to review the draft law. We expect it to be put forward for Cabinet approval post-Elections and be implemented by end of the year."

Thulci Aluwihare further states that CPC isn't only a financial centre, but also a centre for business in which financial services, logistics, maritime services, ICT, hospitality, retail, etc., will all be a part of it.

"We decided to make CPC a Multi-Service special Economic Zone after a study done by PWC Dubai, experts and former heads from Dubai International Financial Centre and Qatar International Financial Centre. Financial centres have failed more than succeeded. Thus, CPC would be a Multi-Service Business Centre, where financial services would be an enabler," he said.

Rejecting claims that CPC would function in Sri Lanka as Hong Kong is to China, he stated that CPC would function as a part of the Colombo Administrative District.

Thulci further noted that 83,000 direct jobs in 1.5 million sq m of A-grade office space would be created as a result of CPC, whereas Colombo currently has only 500,000 sq m of office space. "We would not flood the market; lands would be strategically released so that the land prices don't skyrocket and a bubble is not created. In Phase One, more office spaces would be released, while more residential spaces would be released in Phase Two. Trade and commerce will start in Phase One, creating demand for residential spaces in Phase Two."

"With the new laws coming in, we expect multinational companies to set up offices in CPC to explore the region. This may result in reduction of skilled professionals who migrate abroad, tempting them to take high-end jobs created due to CPC in Sri Lanka. Also, we expect the expat community to return as well, creating a reverse brain-drain."

"The entire project is designed in line with the Government's long-term power generation plan; however, if there is any shortfall in the Government's power generation plan, we are working with alternative contingency plans," explained Aluwihare.

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