Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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Colombo Port City SEZ attracts attention of Commonwealth investors

Colombo Port City Special Economic Zone has been promoted among commonwealth countries attracting potential investors by creating awareness on facilities and incentives of this special zone located in a strategic position in the Indian ocean.

It was communicated that priority sectors and Businesses of Strategic Importance will be granted a tax holiday of up to 40 years which is to be established through regulations.

A key take away was that it is imperative that an attractive package of fiscal incentives is offered to entice investors with returns that commensurate with country risk.

CHEC Port City Colombo in collaboration with the Colombo Port City Economic Commission successfully introduced the Special Economic Zone to 50 plus potential investors and members at a specially curated Breakfast meeting held at the Business Forum Event.

The event was a global platform for Sri Lanka’s first service-oriented Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to be showcased in the Business Forum, which was held in Kigali, Rwanda from the 21st to the 23rd of June 2022.

The opening comments were given by the Deputy Chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), Sir Hugo Swire followed by a key note address by Mr. Thulci Aluwihare, the Deputy Managing Director of CHEC Port City Colombo.

Sir Hugo, in his opening address stated, “It’s a very exciting development, despite the current economic situation prevailing in the country, the Port City SEZ is ring fenced from that.”

The panel also consisted of the Director General of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission who provided insights on the Commission’s role in the project and further also addressed some of the key misconceptions pertaining to the project.

The event was well received by the audience and generated positive feedback on the overall unique features and positioning of the Port City SEZ which will be a game changer in the region.

It was clearly highlighted that the investor confidence was primarily driven by the Port City Economic Commission engaging with global consultants for providing best practices for ease of doing business, banking and ring fencing regulations which will ensure independent functioning of business activities within the zone.

A common topic discussed with most investors was the current thinking on economically ring fencing the SEZ with robust regulations to ensure impact of current macroeconomic shocks of the country is minimized and the risks can be managed suitably within the zone.

As per the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act, 100 percent of development capital and business capital required to be raised overseas which allows for such supportive ring fencing regulations.

In addition to voicing concerns on the current macro-economic outlook and potential policy reforms as next steps to be engaged as a result of an IMF Program, Investors were keen to obtain clarity on the fiscal and non-fiscal incentives that would be offered for businesses setting up or relocating to Port City Colombo, SEZ.

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