The Colombo Port City project has recorded several developments in the January to June 2022 period which includes the completion of infrastructure work at the region’s first Downtown Duty-Free (DF) Mall infrastructure work. Its interior fit-out will begin soon.
While the Colombo Port City Duty-Free Regulations have been drafted and are awaiting Cabinet approval, this facility will be operated by two of the world's leading DF operators, positioning Colombo Port City as a regional shopping destination, the project company said in a media release on Thursday.
It also said negotiations are ongoing to introduce a leading Global Food and Beverage operator into Colombo Port City, offering a range of East, West, and Fusion cuisine, creating a ‘watering hole’ concept for DF shopping, as well as a world-class dining destination in the City of Colombo; while a plan for the feasibility of a ‘remote check-in process’ and ‘checked-in baggage hauling’ for departing overseas travellers is currently being drawn up, to streamline their shopping experience.
The statement said Development Control Regulations (DCR) for the entire project were gazetted in April 2022 and an awareness programme on them was conducted by the Port City Commission for Government officials in June. The DCR informs developers, residents, investors, and other stakeholders of the composition and use of the plots in the planned city.
Key regulations have been finalised which are Businesses of Strategic Importance, Offshore Companies, Authorised persons, Duty-Free retail operations, Fees and DCR. These key regulations were completed, together with international consultants, with the development of suitable draft policies and procedures for identified thrust sectors, designed with extensive benchmarking studies to best-in-class regulations in fiscal and non-fiscal areas. Additionally, an expedited approval for Investor Agreement and Licensing processes for Potential Investors and Authorized Persons have also been completed.
The Commission has received 42 out of the 74 plots technically completed by the Project Company, for which Completion Certificates have been issued to the Project Company. Out of the 34 Project Company marketable land plots granted to the Project Company on a 99-year lease basis, 6 plots were released back to the Commission by the Project Company and the Commission granted 6 fresh Indenture of leases for a 99-year period to the investors valued at approximately US$200 million. The investors have projected a collective investment commitment of $600 million.
The Commission, in collaboration with the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DIE), is streamlining and automating the visa application and approval process for 3 defined visa types under the Colombo Port City law. These are Investor Visa (10 years), Employment visas (dependent on the contract tenure), and long-term Residence visas (dependent on lease tenure) and include all dependents.
The Commission is in discussion with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) regarding offering the International Commercial Dispute Resolution Centre to international operators and/or obtaining technical assistance from the SIAC under an MOU with the Ministry of Justice of Sri Lanka.
The Monetary Board and Ministry of Finance have approved full the regulated offshore licenses for four banks initially, and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has created a new class of account available for all banks under its regulatory purview, the Colombo Port City Investment Account designed to facilitate the inflow of funds to be used for investing in Colombo Port City.