JVP claims Port City would become a Separate State
By Treshan Fernando
The leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Anura Kumara Dissanayake alleged that the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill, presented in Parliament on 9 April, would make the Port City an entirely separate State. He made these statements at a press conference held yesterday (12).
Dissanayake accused the Government of using its power to establish a “Chinese State” in the Port City.
During the conference, he addressed various sections of the bill which he felt were flawed.
He said that unlike all other parts of the country, the Port City will not be under a Municipal Council or Pradeshiya Sabha but will be under a special committee appointed by the President.
In addition, the committee can also comprise foreign nationals and the Port City will be the only part of the country which would not be run by elected officials.
Dissanayake raised other concerns stating that important regulations would not apply in the Port City.
He said that the Foreign Exchange Act would be inapplicable, leading to a flood of black money and several taxes including VAT, Entertainment tax and Casino tax would be ignored.
He went on to say that for a business to be established in this zone, foreign funds must be obtained. This will result in local business people having to obtain loans from foreign banks or work together with foreign businesses in order to establish a company in Port City.
Employees who work in the Port City will be paid in foreign currencies such as the Chinese Yuan and would also be exempt from revenue taxes. Dissanayake said that this would be the only place in the country where employees would be exempt from such taxes.
He also said that if goods are purchased from Port City and brought back, a tax similar to bringing goods from foreign countries will be charged. Dissanayake stressed that in order to protect the national resources and the sovereignty of Sri Lanka, the resolution should be rejected.