Colombo Port City will pull Sri Lanka out of currency crunch – Reuters

  • Senior officials say the economy will start reaping the benefits of Port City from May
  • Land sales are expected to bring in between $600 million and $800 million this year
  • “Downtown Duty-Free” expected to be completed in May to increase forex circulation
  • Launched “e-Business” platform to help investors start their operations until their infrastructure facilities within CPC are completed

The Port City of Colombo Economic Commission (CPCEC) hopes for new inflows of foreign exchange to the multi-billion dollar China-backed Port City of Colombo (CPC), enabling Sri Lanka to emerge from the currency crisis in classes from May.

New foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows are expected from land sales and the launch of several business operations under a centralized e-based business planning system. The proposed free zone is also expected to increase currency circulation in the economy.

As part of the final stage of infrastructure development, the project company, CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd., a unit of China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC), is expected to invest US$500-600 million, increasing thus the initial project investment, which included reclamation of 269 hectares of land and physical infrastructure at US$2 billion.

In an online chat hosted by the Presidential Media Center last Friday, Acting Director of CPC Economic Commission and Secretary of Ministry of Water Supply Dr (Eng) Priyath Bandu Wickrama pointed out that the country’s economy will start reaping the benefits of CPC from May.

Over the past three months, CPCEC has concluded land leases worth US$200 million with investors who have pledged to make investments worth US$600 million. CPCEC member Saliya Wickramasuriya, who also joined the discussion, was hoping for land sales worth US$600-800 million this year.
Meanwhile, Dr. Wickrama announced that the construction of the special duty-free zone within the CPC, called “Downtown Duty-Free”, should be completed in May, which would give a boost to the circulation of foreign currency. in the country.

“Construction of Downtown Duty-Free will be completed in May, and it will be open to tourists and Sri Lankans returning from abroad to make purchases under the existing duty-free allowance structure which will be further improved. As a result, a large amount of currency will circulate in the economy,” he explained.
A leading global duty-free operator has been chosen to manage the area, he added without disclosing the name of the operator.

The CPCEC is also preparing to launch an “e-business planning system, which would enable investors to start business operations outside the CPC without having to wait for their installations to be completed in the CPC, while improving the ease of doing deals for investors with faster registrations and approvals.

Dr. Wickrama particularly pointed out that the e-commerce system would also enable Sri Lankan exporters and expatriates to repatriate and manage foreign exchange earnings under better conditions.

Wickramasuriya noted that Sri Lankan migrant workers would receive special benefits to send and invest their foreign exchange earnings in the CPC, which would allow the Central Bank (CB) to replenish dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

“We plan to provide special benefits. These inflows would go straight into forex reversals to solve our short-term forex problem,” he pointed out. (NC)