UDA claims acquired private land value far exceeds book value

Says lacks funds to repay citizens for land titles

By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
The value of private land requisitioned for government use by the past regime far exceeds the figures displayed in the Urban Development Authority (UDA) accounts.

According to the UDA balance sheet throughout the first 3 quarters of 2014, the accrued compensation on lands had been Rs. 729.65 million, which in the December 2014 accounts jumped up to Rs. 8.28 billion.

“What happened was, we did an independent valuation of the land we have acquired,” UDA Finance Deputy Director General Priya Jayawardene said.
He said that the weakness in government processes has led to the current predicament.

“It takes months and months for these documents to go through the Pradeshiya Sabhas. What they usually do is just throw all the documents of these lands into one room and forget about them,” he said.

It remains to be seen whether the UDA has the necessary funds to repay the citizens for these land titles, as the government institute has also opted for a deferment in lease rent of Rs. 20.47 billion, in addition to interests on borrowings and other liabilities.

The UDA has been experiencing a tough year so far with clients not paying their rent by taking advantage of the ongoing political games in the country.
Therefore the UDA may have to divest some of its interests or call on the Treasury to pay the land compensation.

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