Oct 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka's China-funded US$ 1.4 billion real estate development, Port City project has now completed 50 percent of the land reclamation preparing a land area of 134.5 hectares out of the proposed 269 hectares.
Minister of Megapolis and Western Province Development Champika Ranawaka said that all land reclamation and preparation in the first stage will be completed by 2019.
Once the land reclamation has been completed, the President will officially include the Port City premises in the Sri Lankan territory and the map and legally and construction in the land will be permitted, the Minister told the journalists who were given the opportunity to cover the project for the first time.
Minister Ranawaka said the President Maithripala Sirisena has granted permission for the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Province Development to construct the Port City premises. He said the Prime Minister's office is working on the legal framework that will govern the area.
The Minister said it costs about Rs. 285,000 for a perch in the Port City and once completed a perch can be sold at Rs. 20 million. He said the auction of the land will begin in the first quarter of 2018.
Minister Ranawaka said the previous government planned to develop the Port City for the purpose of entertainment such as casinos but this government intends to create a financial city.
"The government expects to transform Sri Lanka into a pioneer in the global financial services industry, and has decided to invite international financial institutions instead," the Minister said.
Initially, when the agreement was signed for the US$ 1.4 billion project with China in 2014, it was agreed to permanently hand over 20 hectares of land to the Chinese government. The rest of the land had been assigned to China on a 99-year lease.
After the new government came to power, under the tripartite agreement signed in 2016 new agreement was reached to hand over all the land on a 99 year lease and no land will be handed over permanently and Sri Lanka will have 62 hectares of reclaimed land from the beginning of the project. After the 99-year lease completed all reclaimed land will belong to Sri Lanka.
Once completed the City will function as a separately governed entity with its own economic and commercial laws to facilitate operations of global multinational corporations, Minister Ranwaka said.
The first investment of US$ one billion for projects on the reclaimed land is expected to begin by mid next year.