“Port City” Bill passes amid criticism

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The Sri Lankan Parliament recently passed the Bill that declares 269 hectares of reclaimed land annexed to the city of Colombo as the country’s first special economic zone (SEZ) for service-oriented industries. Under the legislation, a special commission appointed by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, whose constituency contains the port city of Hambantota, will be established to govern the Special Economic Zone (SEZ), with separate statutes for Port City, these laws will give companies there an exemption from some taxes and laws, and some amendments have been made to the project agreement, as there were freehold provisions for lands in the agreement which indicated that the Chinese government could obtain lands independently, but in the new agreement all these clauses were amended and the draft bill was drafted as an extension of Colombo City. For their part, politicians and parliamentarians criticized the Port City project as not a trade deal but a kind of Chinese economic invasion, and economists confirmed that the project was planned as a separate country even though it is in Sri Lanka, noting that the executive powers of the current head of the committee that were appointed to manipulate the affairs of Colombo Port City are limited and that there is a possibility that foreigners will be appointed to the committee despite what the government has stated that the majority of the appointees will be from Sri Lanka, and they demanded that the law not be lenient in how money is managed.

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