All lands in the Port City belong to the government – Justice Minister Ali Sabry

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The government owns 100 percent of the land in the Colombo Port City, Minister of Justice, President’s Counsel Ali Sabry says.

The Minister made this observation addressing a media briefing Yesterday (18) to explain the legal background of the Port City Bill.

Minister Sabry explained that the Port City is being established to bring investment as a service hub and in order to do achieve the objective a Commission will be established.

“There are two indicators in the world that investors are looking at. We are ranked 99th in the world in terms of most suitable countries to do business. That means, we have to go past 98 other countries. Also, we are in the 165th place in terms of resolving disputes regarding agreements in court. Therefore, a new methodology needs to be introduced to attract the investor,” Minister Sabry explained.

Further clarifying how the land of the Port City allocate, Minister Sabry said the total area of the investment zone is 269 hectares and 91 hectares for public facilities and cannot be given to the project company. Out of the remaining land 116 hectares or 43 percent will be given to the project company which initiated the project in 2013 and spent US$ 1.4 billion to develop the Port City. The remaining 23 percent is government shares.

“But all 100 percent of the land is owned by the government. It is completely false to say that land was given to someone else,” Sabry said.

When asked about leaving opportunity to appoint foreign nationals to the proposed Colombo Port City Special economic Commission, which is in the center of controversy, the Minister of Justice said the 5-7 member Commission should comprise people of ability, who have an international standing and could attract investors. “I have no problem as long as the majority of the commission members are Sri Lankans”

Responding to a query raised through zoom technology regarding the vehement opposition to the bill, the Minister said the government will abide by the Supreme Court decision. “We will always act according to the Constitution of the country.”

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