The Chairman of the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI), Upul Jayasuriya last week said that the government’s recent decision to discontinue the implementation of the Strategic Development Project Act (SDPA) will not be applied retroactively and hence will not affect those projects that had already been agreed upon by the government with the contractors.
The BOI Chairman’s comments came in the wake of a weekend newspaper quoting the BOI Chairman disclosing that the ‘strategic development’ deals of the planned projects namely Krrish, CHEC Port City, Lanka Sugar, Avic International and Prosperity Place Lanka, had to be re-negotiated in future so that they would only be eligible in accordance with the 2006 gazette notification on applicable tax concessions.
“That report by the newspaper was totally wrong. I never said that. We won’t revoke concessions granted from SDA for past projects but the decision to revoke will only apply to new projects unless on compelling circumstances,” Jayasuriya said on Monday assuring the writer that an official clarification will be released soon.
The three-month deadline given to the five Strategic Development Projects (SDP), to obtain Parliamentary approval in order for them to be eligible for specific concessions had lapsed in February this year and the fate of these projects now hang in the balance.
Meanwhile, when questioned on the status of the Port City project, the BOI Chairman said the government was still awaiting environment clearance reports from both the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and the Department of Coast Conservation and Coastal Resource Management.
The $1.4 billion Colombo Port City project was suspended by new Government in March this year and said the project did not to have proper permits and approvals.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake who reportedly spoke to Reuters recently, had stated that “one stumbling block has been the planned acquisition by Chinese developers of 20 hectares of freehold land for the waterfront project, which lies a stone’s throw from the business district of Sri Lanka’s largest city”.
“The freehold will certainly be changed into a mutually holding type of a situation, so that there is no person that will control land in another country. You don’t need to have a company holding national lands for perpetuity,” Reuters said quoting Minister Karunanayake.