In The Press
Colombo Port City gathers momentum.
The Colombo Port City Economic Commission (CPCEC) yesterday revealed the progress thus far of Sri Lanka’s most ambitious venture including licences issued for seven banks to set up shop and technical certificates of completion of 64 of the 74 plots.
CPCEC is the Single Window Investment Facilitator authorised to assist investors, businesses, and residents in conducting their activities seamlessly and efficiently in Port City Colombo.
Issuing its semi-annual progress report for FY 2022 from July to December 2022, CPCEC said agreements have been signed between the Commission and the Registrar General of Companies and Controller General of Immigration and Emigration in order to streamline services offered to Authorised Persons.
It also said technical Certificates of completion for 64 out of the 74 plots of the Port City Colombo SEZ have been received by the Commission. Preliminary designs for the Marina Development and Villa Project have been submitted by two investors, with several more plots in the final stages of discussion for lease.
In terms of sectoral progress, CPCEC said the Minister of Finance issued licences under the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act to four banks during the first half of 2022. The Commission has since received requests from three more banks during 2022. Additionally, 10 Financial and Banking Regulations were also drafted under Sections 44 and Sections 45 of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act No. 11 of 2021 and are awaiting review with the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka Police opened a Post on-site for visitor protection, with water access control and lifeguard services being handed to the Sri Lanka Navy. CCTV networks were also installed in public areas.
In addition to an internationally-reputed hospital and school, the Commission has identified the need for a world-class university within Port City Colombo and modified the Master Plan accordingly.
With the retail mall infrastructure complete, the CPCEC said commencement of the interior work has begun. The mall will showcase premium merchandise, with an array of cuisine options and entertainment, and is set to commence operations by Q2 of 2023.
Immigration and Visa Arrangements – in collaboration with the Department of Immigration and Emigration, the Commission has introduced three new visa categories for Port City Colombo. These 3 visa categories are - the Investor visa for 10 years, the Employment visa for up to five years, and the Resident visa for five years. Port City Colombo visas allow supplementary benefits, such as visas for the spouse, kids, and other support staff members, which can be obtained under the primary visa applicant. The visa fee is USD 200 per year for each applicant. Visas are renewable as required and applicable only to Foreign Investors.
With regard to the Master Plan Implementation, CPCEC said a planning committee consisting of key stakeholders was created to expedite the approval of building plans submitted under the Development Control Regulations (DCRs) for each plot of the Port City Colombo SEZ. The DCRs provide a clear framework for the development of buildings, land use, green spaces, utility networks, and sustainability measures, among other factors.
The Port City Colombo Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is designed to be a prestigious, strategically located city in the heart of South Asia, with sustainable high-quality public spaces and infrastructure, providing top-quality commercial, entertainment, medical, education and lifestyle. International destinations such as DIFC, DMCC, Labuan, Singapore, and Mauritius were studied for their regulatory frameworks, fiscal incentives, and operational efficiency to identify the most competitive processes and policies for Port City Colombo. The benchmarking study was done by global consultants such as Boston Consulting Group, PwC, KPMG, EY, Pinsent Masons, Zico Law, JLL, etc., for the SEZ’s thrust sectors, supported by market feedback on both fiscal and non-fiscal parameters.
Port City Colombo SEZ Regulations for the registration, licensing, authorisation and other approvals of Authorised Persons, were published by extraordinary gazette in September 2022, bearing number 2299/46. The SEZ’s Regulations for the registration and licensing of Authorised Person Fees, were also gazetted in September 2022, bearing number 2299/47. The registration of offshore company regulations were gazetted in the month of November 2022, bearing number 2306/54.