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Port City officials frustrated over delay in duty free mall opening

19 April 2024 05:26 am - 14     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Port City Colombo officials expressed frustration over delays in opening the downtown duty-free mall in Colombo.

Originally scheduled to commence operations in April, the facility now faces an uncertain timeline for opening to the public, primarily due to unexpected legislative hurdles.

While concerns have been raised regarding the potential impact of the duty-free mall on local businesses and Sri Lanka’s taxation framework, CHEC Port City Colombo Deputy Managing Director Thulchi Aluwihare has asserted that the facility will not have the negative effects perceived by some in the political and business communities.

“The aim is not to cannibalise but to expand the market and promote economic growth. The broader objective of Port City is to increase footfall and benefit the entire Colombo ecosystem,” Aluwihare told Mirror Business.

He stressed that adequate measures are in place, serving as effective guardrails to protect against cannibalisation of the local market and ensure there is no leakage of goods into the local market. 

“The goal is to attract tourists and create a shopping destination in Sri Lanka, capitalising on the average tourist’s stay of seven to 10 days, with an average spending day in Colombo being just one day,” added Aluwihare.

Pointing out that the delays are sending a negative message to investors, existing and potential, he stressed it is imperative for authorities to understand the importance of having investor-friendly processes.

“As a country facing a balance of payment crisis, we are actively seeking foreign direct investment and capital. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that the experience for investors in Sri Lanka is positive and encourages further investment,” added Aluwihare.


  Comments - 14

  • Ranga Friday, 19 April 2024 06:53 AM

    Typical of Sri Lanka This country will never be developed because we are afraid of competition and openness Inefficient public officials, Politicians and domestic protectionism is the real curse here

    R.M.Perera Friday, 19 April 2024 10:02 AM

    Agreed.................

    Mori Friday, 19 April 2024 07:17 AM

    Why r u in a hurry 2 open a down town dutyfree outlet and reduce the government earnings...?

    R.M.Perera Friday, 19 April 2024 09:59 AM

    What Government earnings are you talking about? Do you know the corruption in the Customs Department?

    Hesh Friday, 19 April 2024 07:34 AM

    It's Harsha de Silva that is blocking everything using the COPA

    Prabath Friday, 19 April 2024 07:39 AM

    Well tough luck. There are some macro considerations that are being looked into currently if these officials are unaware. Depending on the deliberations the duty free mall may not even go ahead. Sorry to disappoint the concerned officials. It would be good if they kept up with the news and developments as a part of their roles in the first place.

    Gp Friday, 19 April 2024 07:41 AM

    Our country downfall is thar nothing in planned correctly

    Gabriella Friday, 19 April 2024 09:40 AM

    My experience is that “duty free” in Sri Lanka is more expensive than retail stores in Australia ( especially liquor). Good Luck with the duty free project !

    SL Citizen Friday, 19 April 2024 11:18 AM

    Probably explains as to why there are more Alcoholics in Australia

    SLEx Friday, 19 April 2024 12:08 PM

    Ah. Let me buy a ticket to Australia and travel just to buy liquor since its cheaper there. We are not opening a duty free for people not inside our country. Your comment serves no purpose at all other than to boast you know about Australia.

    Can’t Compare Apples with King Coconuts Friday, 19 April 2024 04:02 PM

    Australian food and beverage charges are ridiculously expensive too. Try comparing it to a similar standard restaurant and service in SL and the vast difference. There is no need to compare as individual countries will price their products and services accordingly depending on demands, wages, rentals etc.

    Gabriella Saturday, 20 April 2024 02:03 AM

    @SLEx Thank you for taking time from your paddy cultivation to display your ignorance. Duty free goods are only available for travellers sans government taxes.But, even without these taxes, the goods are more expensive than retail shops overseas. So, where is the incentive to shop here? Locals are not exempt from these taxes. Therefore duty free malls have no attraction for locals, except for window shopping. And yes, the cost of living is astronomical in Australia, but, people are paid appropriately.

    Gabriella Saturday, 20 April 2024 02:03 AM

    @SLEx Thank you for taking time from your paddy cultivation to display your ignorance. Duty free goods are only available for travellers sans government taxes.But, even without these taxes, the goods are more expensive than retail shops overseas. So, where is the incentive to shop here? Locals are not exempt from these taxes. Therefore duty free malls have no attraction for locals, except for window shopping. And yes, the cost of living is astronomical in Australia, but, people are paid appropriately.

    Dilshan Perera Friday, 19 April 2024 07:30 PM

    If it's required to cannibalize the existing local market to make the duty free possible, then by all means permanently cannibalize the local market!


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