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Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill presented to Parliament

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The Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill, which will declare Colombo Port City (CPC) as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), and under which a high-powered Commission will be appointed to administer it, was presented to Parliament yesterday.

As per the Bill, the five-member Commission will be appointed by the President.

In making the appointments, consideration will be given to ensure that such members posse relevant knowledge, expertise and experience and national, international recognition in the fields of investment, finance, law , information , technology, engineering, business or accountancy.

One member out of the five will be appointed by the President as the Commission’s Chairperson.

President’s Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundara on Wednesday said the government expects to advertise internationally to find suitable persons for the Commission with international reputation.

President is able to remove the Chairperson or any member of the Commission in the event of ill health, or if convicted of criminal offence or fraud.

The objectives of the Commission are to promote Port City as a leading Special Economic Zone in the region, create a safe and conducive business environment and facilitate ease of doing business in it, encourage and promote global and regional investments, trade, shipping, logistic operations, offshore banking and finance.

Further the Commission will have powers to issue or grant registration, license, authorization and other approval to engage in business and from the area of authority of the Colombo Port City, to be the single window investment facilitator , to plan issue and monitor compliance, permits, clearances, work permits required for development activities, operate businesses, entertainment including gaming and such other facilities , to charge fees and other charges as determined by the Commission for services provided by the same, to identify local assessment rates, to prepare , develop , amend, publish and enforce all community rules and development control regulations and to facilitate the expeditious resolution of any commercial disputes.

The Commission can also grant exemptions or incentives to businesses of strategic importance under rules imposed by the Inland Revenue Act 24 of 2017, Value Added Tax Act No 14 of 2002, Finance Act No 11 of 2002, Excise Special Provisos Act 13 of 1989, Customs Ordinance, Betting and Gaming Levy Act, Entertainment Tax Ordinance and Foreign Exchange Act No 12 of 2017.

In addition, enactments which have no application in the Colombo Port City include, the Urban Development Authority Act 14 of 1978, Municipal Council Ordinance, Town and Country Planning Ordinance, Board of Investment Sri Lanka Law and Public Contracts Act.

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