Approval was granted at the Cabinet meeting held on January 4, 2021 to establish the Colombo Port City Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which will be an international business and services hub with specialized infrastructure facilities.
Port City investor company, CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd. yesterday welcomed the government’s move and expects this initiative will bring more foreign direct investments to Sri Lanka.
‘The Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill’ would form the framework law that would be applicable within the Port City and the Cabinet of Ministers this week approved the proposal made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to take necessary steps to publish the relevant Bill on the government gazette and submit it to Parliament shortly.
The Colombo Port City Special Economic Zone is expected to create a conducive and competitive environment to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).
Urban development via SEZs is not unique to Sri Lanka and there are many successful SEZs in the world. An SEZ will offer relief from various forms of taxation on businesses and individuals who qualify.
They also offer superior infrastructure and have streamlined administrative processes in place that results in ease of doing business. SEZs have been a useful tool for developing nations to upgrade infrastructure, human capital and institutional frameworks and test out policies and their impact before they are selectively implemented outside the SEZ in the rest of the country.
The establishment of a well-positioned SEZ will benefit the nation by upgrading resources and capabilities where policy makers can overcome bottlenecks in resource mobility and attenuate the costs of larger scale implementation or upgrading across the entire country. A successful SEZ sends an important signal that the country is open for business.
The facilitative environment expected to be created through the ‘Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill’ is supported by the first world infrastructure made available in the 269 ha of reclaimed land at Port City and is expected to result in the inflow of both financial and human capital and promote local and foreign entrepreneurs, create employment opportunities and enable talent retention.
It is expected that the SEZ will attract multinational enterprises to set up headquarters or regional offices in Port City and in turn they will bring in financial recourses, technology, technical and managerial know-how.
CHEC Port City hopes that the establishment of a SEZ will accelerate Sri Lanka’s economic growth. A realized master plan for the Port City provides 5.7 million square meters of built up area valued at US$ 15 billion that will be home to multinational enterprises, corporate headquarters, transient workers, and residents. It will be the catalyst for a modern services hub that will help Sri Lanka’s transformation into a services-led growth model and elevate the economy to high-income status.
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