Good governance activist and former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Chandra Jayaratne has written to the Minister of Investment Promotion requesting clarifications on the US Dollars 1,300 million Sri Lanka – China Colombo Port city deal.
His letter to the Minister in full is found below:
7th February 2014
Hon. Minister of Investment Promotion,
Ministry of Investment Promotion,
Levels 25 & 26, West Tower,
World Trade Center,
Dear Mr. Minister,
Clarifications Re; Gazette Notice Issued under Strategic Development Projects Act No.14 of 2008 on 24th January 2014- No. 1846/51
I kindly refer you to the gazette notice issued by you, dated 24th January, 2014, in terms of Section 3(2) of the Strategic Development Projects Act, in connection with the proposed project for the development of Colombo Port City in two phases for the construction of wave protection breakwater, land reclamation, ground improvement, revetment, canals to connect seawater, artery roads, utilities with a total investment of US Dollars 1,300 million, which is said to bring significant economic and social benefits to the country, by creating 233 Hectares of new land and attracting strategic importance in view of, the new land, inflow of foreign investments, potential employment and foreign exchange generation and changing the landscape of the country. Your attention is further drawn to the Annex detailing extracts from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Web and the Sunday Times.
The relevant gazette notice names the Project Company as CHEC Port City Colombo (Private) Ltd, and is expected to commence commercial operations within 8 years from the date of the Project Agreement signed with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka.
In order that the citizens of Sri Lanka can assess the long term socio economic benefits to the nation and the people of Sri Lanka, as publicly declared by you, arising consequent to this project and ensure that there are no apparent or contingent risks to the nation and its people, National Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity, Constitutional Commitments / Rights and Freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of Sri Lanka, (especially in the preamble and Articles (1), (3), (4) and ( 5) in Chapter I, Article (26) in chapter V and Articles 118 to 147 in Chapter XVI) and the associated Legal and Judicial Structure and Systems of Sri Lanka, I would be most grateful if you will kindly, transparently clarify the under noted issues, at your earliest convenience;
- What overarching steps the government has taken to safeguard the Sovereignty, Territorial Integrity, and Constitutional Commitments / Rights and Freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of Sri Lanka, especially in the preamble and Articles (1), (3), (4) and ( 5) in Chapter I, Article (26) in chapter V and Articles 118 to 147 in Chapter XVI and the associated legal and judicial structure and systems of Sri Lanka, in regard to the proposed new project for the development of the Colombo Port City;
- Assurance that the Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity of Sri Lanka will prevail and be preserved over the new land area covered by the proposed new project for the development of the Colombo Port City in line with the provisions of the Constitution of Sri Lanka and in terms of International Law, and a further assurance that any such rights will not in any manner or form vest in full or in part in the Project Company, Associate Company or in any other third party as the creator, contractor, by agreement of otherwise;
- Assurance that the freedoms and rights of citizens of Sri Lanka will prevail in the entirety of the new land area covered by the proposed new project for the development of the Colombo Port City exclusively;
- Assurance that the Common Law and Equity of Sri Lanka and the judicial structure and systems of Sri Lanka will exclusively apply and prevail in regard to the new land area and operations covered by the proposed new project for the development of the Colombo Port City;
- Assurance that within the new land area covered by the proposed new project for the development of the Colombo Port City, or any defined zone within such land area, no exclusivity of property rights will vest in any party, persons or body of persons who are not citizens of Sri Lanka;
- Assurance that all statutes, laws and regulations of Sri Lanka, including statutes, laws and regulations of Sri Lanka imposing any specific restrictions of ownership or operations or conduct of business will not be waived or disregarded in application and regulation, in favour of the Project Company, any Associate Company or any third party, person or body of persons, unless otherwise so specifically provided for in the said statutes, laws and regulations of Sri Lanka;
- Assurance that by any agreement, contact or proposal duly accepted by the Government or any agency of Government or any officer of Government, including the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, no specific or general exemptions, concessions or specific incentives have been granted in general or specific terms to the Project Company or any other party associated with the Colombo Port City development, outside of the exemptions set out in the schedule to the Gazette Notice No; 1846/51 of 24th January 2014, and especially in regard to in regard to the following
- Grant of permanent residency commitments to persons engaging in business, owning, leasing or otherwise occupying any houses, apartments, offices constructed within the proposed new project for the development of the Colombo Port City, with or without the right for future citizenship application;
- Grant of exemption from any restrictions as regards property ownership, leasing, or rent purchase outside of the laws, regulations applying to such ownership or leasing, or rent purchase, within the city of Colombo;
- Grant of exemption from any statutes, laws or regulation applying to operation of any business, trade, commerce, services, or the practice of any profession or any vocation within the city of Colombo;
- The justification and rationale supporting the approval by the Cabinet of the covered project, classified as a “Strategic Development Project” in the national interest and which is likely to bring economic and social benefits to the Country and which is likely to change the landscape of the country, primarily through
- Strategic importance to the goods and services of benefit to the public;
- Substantial inflow of foreign exchange to the country;
- Substantial employment generation ;
- Enhancement of income earning opportunities;
- Transformation in terms of technology.”
- Publicly make available, the undernoted agreements, reports and any associated documentation in regard to the proposed new project for the development of the Colombo Port City;
- The Agreement signed by the Project Company with the Board of Investments of Sri Lanka;
- The proposals made by the Project Company, or any Associate Company or any other Person(s) in regard to the balance phases forming a part of the proposed Colombo Port City Development, as described in the official announcement published in the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Website (Annex A)
- Publicly make available the undernoted reports, analysis and any associated documentation in regard to the proposed new project for the development of the Colombo Port City ,n order that the public can assess the;
- Long Term Net National Cost Benefit
- Long Term Net Foreign Exchange Profitability
- Environmental Impact Assessment
- Sources from where sand and other land fill materials will be sourced for the proposed project construction
Kindly note that his intervention is made, in a spirit of democratic engagement, in pursuit of the promotion of transparency and good governance Sri Lanka.
Your early public response will be gratefully appreciated.
Cc; Hon. Minister of Finance & Planning,
Hon. Minister of Ports and Highways,
Hon Minister of Economic Development
Secretary to H.E the President,
Secretary, Ministry of Finance & Planning,
Secretary, Ministry of Ports & Highways,
Secretary, Ministry of Economic Development,
Secretary, Ministry of Investment Promotion,
Secretary, Ministry of Justice,
Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development,
Chairman, Board of Investments of Sri Lanka,
Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority,
Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce,
Chairman, Bar Association of Sri Lanka,
Chairman, Sri Lanka Economic Association
President, Organisation of Professional Associations
Editors of Media Institutions, for Public Information
SLPA confirms commencement of US$ 15bn Port City Project
“Accordingly, approximately 230 hectares, that is nearly 575 acres, of water front sheltered by the new breakwater will be reclaimed at an investment of approximately US$ 900 million by a foreign investor. The plan has been given approval by the Standing Cabinet Appointed Review Committee (SCARC). At the recently concluded international Seatrade Conference and Exhibition at the Hilton hotel in Colombo, Dr.Priyath B.Wickrama – Chairman of SLPA emphasized that the area will be developed as a port city with roads, water, electricity, communication facilities to set up shopping areas, water sports area, mini golf course, hotels, apartments, recreation areas, marinas and with a lot more additions that would develop the area as a modern city.
“These innovations will not only change the geography and outlook of Sri Lanka, but also extend immense strength to the government’s efforts to ensure continuity and dedication towards realizing the goal of making Sri Lanka, the most competitive and preferred maritime and logistic center in the Asian region,” the SLPA said.
Colombo Port City project gets underway from China with love
Sri Lanka has finalised a deal with a Chinese company to build a port city on 230 hectares (568 acres) of reclaimed land on the sea adjacent to the Colombo South harbour and Colombo’s historic Galle Face Green seafront, officials said.
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) has signed the agreement with China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC) and construction will begin by September, a senior official of SLPA said adding that they plan to complete the land reclamation within 39 months.
The US$15 billion Colombo Port city is to be built by reclaiming the sea water front sheltered by the new breakwater at an investment of $1.43 billion, he added.
“The Chinese company CCCC will invest in reclaiming the land and infrastructure of the port city,” he revealed.
This company will be given around 50 hectare of reclaimed land on a 99-year lease for its investment, he revealed.
The Sunday Times was the first to report on the plan to reclaim the sea to build a port city in a deal with Chinese company in its issue on June 26, 2011 but the proposal was soon after suspended on a directive from the top and a Standing Cabinet Appointed Review Committee was asked to review the whole process before giving approval to the project.
The SLPA will oversee the reclamation project which will be divided into three segments — business, residential and leisure, officials said.
A mini-golf course, a Formula One race track, a small yacht marina and areas for water sports will be created.
The feasibility study and an environmental impact assessment conducted by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Moratuwa University have been completed.
Port Authority officials said the Lanka Hydraulic Institute (LHI) has provided hydrographic and modelling services.
Construction work will be carried out under the supervision of the Urban Development Authority, the Colombo Municipality, relevant ministries and the Archaeological Department.