Oppo. takes Col. Port City to task

The Colombo Port City has not only been unable to deliver economic benefits as was anticipated, but it has also resulted in legal and policy changes that would in the long run be disadvantageous to Sri Lanka’s economy, according to Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Opposition Parliamentarian Chandima Weerakkody.

Speaking to the media at a press briefing yesterday (2), he expressed concerns about the success of the Port City project, adding that the Government has failed to attract investors despite its efforts which include legal and policy changes involving tax concessions. In a context where the Government has even invested a massive amount of money to develop the infrastructure within the Port City premises, he added, this failure will amount to a massive loss in the long run. In addition, he alleged that the Government seemed to have attempted to give preference to its friends during the Port City project, without taking steps based on economically beneficial strategies. The result, he claimed, is not only not being able to attract foreign investors but also a heavy blow to the businesses of those engaged in such at the Galle Face Green.

In addition, Weerakkody pointed out that providing duty free concessions that apply to the Port City premises and are available for those who return to the country at a limit of United States Dollars 5,000 would result in adverse impacts to traders who import goods, expressing concerns about the decision which he said was not even included in the initial Port City project plan. He further said that the Government has, through its arbitrary decisions which include legal and policy reforms that are not in the interest of the public, ignored the public’s democratic rights, and that such should therefore be opposed. At the same time, he expressed concerns about how the business plans concerning the Port City would affect local businesses.