Sri Lanka to offer tax breaks for project involving China-backed Port City

Colombo port city

Sri Lanka is preparing legislation with tax incentives to attract investment into a big property development near Colombo port that includes a $1.4 billion Chinese-backed real estate project, a government minister said on Wednesday.

The development includes Port City, a project by China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) started late last year as part of Beijing’s ambitious plans to create a modern-day “Silk Road” across Asia.

Champika Ranawaka, minister of megapolis and western development, said laws to be formulated by year-end will “facilitate administrative entity and ease taxation for investors” in the Colombo Financial City Project that encompasses Port City.

“It will be a separately governed entity,” Ranawaka said during a government-organised tour of Port City.

He said legislation is needed as the area involves reclaimed land that the government wants developed as an international financial city, targeting global companies.

“We will relax taxation for those who are parking money here. We should have our own competitive advantage,” the minister said.

Nihal Fernando, project director for the government in the Port City development, said half of the total 269-hectare (665-acre) has been reclaimed. The rest is expected to be completed by June 2019.

CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, the Sri Lanka company that handles the project for the Chinese firm CCCC, aims to deliver the first site for construction by the end of 2018.

For the overall project, Sri Lanka anticipates an eventual $13 billion of investment in housing, marinas, health facilities, schools and other developments over the next 30 years, Ranawaka said.

The project is expected to create over 83,000 jobs.

The new land is being built from the sea in the commercial heart of the capital, adjacent to the main port and the Galle Face Green park.