Sept 15, Colombo: The Members representing the Colombo Port City Economic Commission stated that the food stalls at the Colombo Port City falls under leisure activities and will be removed by March 2027.
This was stated in response to the questioning of the Committee on Public Finance as to the legality of the establishment of such food stalls whilst the Colombo Port City was designed mainly targeting foreign investments.
When the Committee on Public Finance chaired by Dr. Harsha de Silva met in parliament on Tuesday (12), it took into consideration the Regulations under the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act, No. 11 of 2021 scheduled to be presented in Parliament on Tuesday, 19th of September.
The Committee further inquired the Commission members on what legal basis have they decided to permit the establishment of such food stalls and on what grounds will they be removed by 2027. The Committee further questioned whether the Attorney General has been consulted on this regard.
The Committee instructed the Colombo Port City Economic Commission and the Attorney General’s Department to submit information on this regard to the Committee as soon as possible.
The Committee further inquired regarding the revenue received by the Government by the ongoing activities at the port city. The Committee instructed the officials to submit all details with regard to this for a better understanding prior to granting approval for the Regulations.
Furthermore, given that the Port City is being constructed as a separate land mass under a Smart City concept, the Committee questioned the Colombo Port City Economic Commission members present whether smart city concepts such as waste water management, renewable energy, and proper sewerage mechanisms have been included. The Committee was of the view that issues experienced in other areas of the country pertaining to improper sewerage and waste water management should be avoided when developing the port city.
It was also disclosed that government institutions such as the Road Development Authority, Urban Development Authority, and Water Board has spent a considerable amount of money to facilitate the construction and development of the Port City. Since all of this are tax payer money, the Committee questioned the Commission what gains do the tax paying citizens of the country would have from this.
Accordingly, the Committee on Public Finance instructed the Members of the Commission to submit a breakdown of the government expenses for the Port City and infrastructure and also to provide details of the streams of revenue.
State Minister Dr. Seetha Arambepola, Members of Parliament Chandima Weerakkody, Nimal Lanza, Dr. Major Pradeep Undugoda, Premnath C. Dolawatte, Madhura Withanage, U.K Sumith Udukumbura, were present at this Committee meeting.