Port City under local jurisdiction | Daily News
State Minister Cabraal debunks “Chinese Colony” theory

Port City under local jurisdiction

Commission to manage Port City
83,000 employment opportunities
Biggest-ever FDI project
State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal points to a map of Port City. Picture by Dushmantha Mayadunne
State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal points to a map of Port City. Picture by Dushmantha Mayadunne

State Minister of Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal yesterday dismissed allegations that the Colombo Port City would be a “Chinese Colony”, pointing out that it will be administered under Sri Lankan law.

Addressing a news conference in Colombo, State Minister Cabraal said all civil matters of the Port City would be executed under the Sri Lankan law. The Sri Lanka Police will maintain law and order in the Port City. Given the global outlook of the Port City, there would be an International Arbitration Council for dispute resolution.

“Moreover, the Sri Lankan Government is seeking to approve draft legislation for a Colombo Port City Commission from Parliament to govern and manage the Colombo Port City. This is aimed at making Port City Sri Lanka’s first service-oriented specialised economic zone.

There will also be a 5 to 7 member committee comprising experts and intellectuals with diversified knowledge appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to govern and manage the Port City,” Cabraal said.

He stressed that in addition out of the 178 hectares of marketable land in the Port City, the Sri Lankan Government will own and manage and make profits from 62 hectares of land and hence it is a wrong perception to pin the Colombo Port city as a Chinese colony,” he added.

The State Minister recalled that it was the previous government that introduced several agreements to the Port City administration, even signing a final document just two days prior to the Presidential elections. “Hence this Bill has not been brought to Parliament in a hurry.”

Cabraal said that the Colombo Port City would be a catalyst for economic revival as it would provide over 83,000 high paying employment opportunities and will completely change the economic fabric of the nation. “It would be the single biggest investment in the history of Sri Lanka attracting not only Chinese but other investors from all over the world.”

He said the Government debt service last year saw a paradigm shift where the foreign loans were reduced from 65% to 40% and the Government hopes to reduce this further through attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI).

In a bid to woo global investors to the Port City, several investment protection laws, concessions, tax holidays, tax-free salaries, longer leases of land had been provided. In addition, to speed up project approval process a ‘single window concept’ too has been created.


US Envoy’s money laundering fears refuted

Shirajiv Sirimane

State Minister of Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal came out strongly against comments made by US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Alaina B Teplitz who said that Sri Lanka may be creating a haven for money launderers and other nefarious actors through the Colombo Port City development.

Ambassador Teplitz was quoted on Saturday warning Sri Lanka of unintended consequences of ‘nefarious actors’ who may try to misuse a China-backed Colombo Port City’s easy business rules as a permissive money laundering haven amid concerns of tax leaks.

State Minister Cabral said that this is a very unjust and unfair comment. “Government and several other bodies will and have taken every effort under international laws to scrutinise investors and can assure the public that such activities would not take place.”

He challenged the Ambassador to provide him with even one instance of such a ‘shady’ activity.

Cabraal said that the Ambassador should also note that small countries with less than 650, 000 population have heavily invested in the US.

“Cayman Islands with a population of less than 65,000 and Luxembourg (660,000 population) have invested over US$ 1,839 billion and 1,772 billion respectively in the US. We don’t have such tiny countries investing in Sri Lanka.”