- Resolution will permit the President to declare entire reclaimed area of 269 hectares as part of Colombo district under Lands Ordinance
- An “International Financial Zone” is to be set up within the reclaimed area as per tripartite agreement
By Nishel Fernando
Parliament is scheduled to take up a resolution on July 24 to grant authority to the President to declare the reclaimed Colombo International Financial City (CIFC) land as part of Colombo district.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Megapolis & Western Development Nihal Rupasinghe told Mirror Business that the resolution has already been tabled in parliament and is scheduled to be taken up on 24th this month.
The resolution will permit the President to declare the entire reclaimed area of 269 hectares as part of Colombo district under the Lands Ordinance.
Colombo Port City Project Director Nihal Fernando said that the relevant gazette is expected to be issued in a week following the parliamentary approval by the Home Affairs Ministry.
Subsequently, the Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka is expected to declare the CIFC land as an urban development area under the Urban Development Authority (UDA) Act.
“Once it’s declared by the respective Minister in-charge, the UDA will have powers to regulate the development in the area,” UDA Chairman Dr. Jagath Munasinghe said.
The government is also expected to sign a lease agreement to officially transfer the agreed reclaimed land blocks to CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt.) Ltd, the Sri Lankan company handling the CPC project for China Communications Construction (CCC) on a 99-year basis as per the tripartite agreement signed by the Ministry of Megapolis & Western Development, UDA and CHEC Port City.
Further, the reclaimed area was to be governed under a new Act titled Colombo International Financial Centre Law which aims to set-up an “International Financial Zone” within the reclaimed area as per the tripartite agreement.
The key objective of the financial zone was to create a conducive environment to attract reputed international banking and financial services companies to locate within the CIFC to place it as a financial hub in the region.
Rupasinghe noted that the Finance Ministry is currently working with the Megapolis Ministry in finalising the draft legislation for the Act.
Following the declaration of the reclaimed land as part of Colombo district, he said the new Act would be the next priority of the government in the port city project, which would include the setting up of a new authority for CIFC’s administration.
Further, the government also plans to introduce a special incentive packages to draw investors to the Port City.
Dr. Munasinghe noted that a new procurement and regulatory entity would be established to conduct land sales, handle regulation and development activities of CIFC which would have representations from the CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt.) Ltd, the UDA and Megapolis and Western Development Ministry.
He emphasised that the entity would strictly adhere to the government tender procedure.
The Valuation Department is expected to conduct a valuation for the CPC land blocks, in order to set a base price for the land plots.
Once the land plots are assessed by the Valuation Department, Dr. Munasinghe said the proposed entity would call for requests for proposal for the land plots.
The successful bidders are to be given land blocks under certain conditions and on a maximum 99-year lease.
Fernando said the land sales would commence shortly after the development activities of port city comes under the UDA command.
However, as investor sentiments took a hit after the Easter Sunday attacks, analysts opine that the land sales are likely to commence after the Presidential elections, as there will be clarity on the political situation. The project company early this year completed the land reclamation of port city project. The CCC has pledged to invest US $ 1.4 billion in reclaiming land, constructing the breakwater barrier and in infrastructure development.