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Colombo Port City Economic Commission unveils its Comprehensive Progress


By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): The Colombo Port City Economic Commission has unveiled its Comprehensive Progress Report covering the period from January to August 2023, showcasing significant strides in the development of the Colombo Port City and the finalization of legal frameworks for the Colombo Port City Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

These advancements underscore the project’s standing as a premier investment destination and a burgeoning “Gateway to South Asia.”

Functioning as the Single Window Investment Facilitator, the Commission has been steadfastly dedicated to simplifying procedures and nurturing a conducive business environment for investors, enterprises and residents alike.

It highlights that throughout the first eight months of the year, the Commission has achieved pivotal legal milestones, cementing its commitment to constructing a resilient business ecosystem within the Colombo Port City.

The Asiri Port City Hospital Lease Agreement was signed with Asiri Port City Hospital Ltd., paving the way for the execution of the Indenture of Lease and Investor Agreement, pending specific conditions, to establish a state-of-the-art hospital within the SEZ.

The Colombo Port City (Duty-Free Operations) Rules, No. 01 of 2023, were also officially published in the Gazette on 22 May, under reference number 2333/14.

Meanwhile, a strategic partnership was also forged between the Commission and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC)-Institute for the Development of Commercial Law and Practice (ICLP) International ADR Centre (Guarantee) Ltd. (IADRC).

This collaboration designates IADRC to provide Alternate Dispute Resolution Services within the jurisdiction of Colombo Port City, accompanied by an agreement with the Ministry of Justice to establish a world-class Arbitration Centre.

The Colombo Port City Development Control Regulations (DCR) were also updated and published in the Extraordinary Gazette No. 2334/47 on 2 June.

Most notably, the Parliament of Sri Lanka approved a special incentives program, designed in consultation with the Minister of Investment Promotion, to support businesses categorized as Businesses of Strategic Importance (BSI). This program was published in Extraordinary Gazette No. 2343/60, on 4 August.

Highlighting the fast-paced progress within Colombo Port City, a number of achievements with regard to commercial development have been made.

A Cabinet Memorandum facilitated duty-free operations and designated duty-free mall operators and retailers as businesses of strategic importance.

Government Notification No. 2333/14 established Duty-Free Rules, outlining eligibility criteria for shoppers, permissible purchases, and applicable limits under the Port City Duty-Free regime. Key players, including Port City Duty-Free Ltd. and Duty-Free Retail operator One World Duty-Free (ODF) Ltd., were officially inducted as Authorized Persons.

Alongside this, interior work on the Duty-Free Mall has progressed rapidly, with site handovers to retail operators expected in December 2023.

Meanwhile, preliminary approval from the Civil Aviation Authority was secured for a check-in facility for departing passengers at the Duty-Free Mall premises itself.

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