Colombo: The Sri Lanka Parliament has passed the Port City Economic Commission Bill, which officially declares 269 hectares of land reclaimed from the ocean and annexed to the city of Colombo as the country’s first special economic zone (SEZ) for services-oriented industries.
A commission appointed by the President will be established to govern the SEZ under the legislation, which will enable the businesses to operate in any recognized foreign currency within the port city.
The bill was passed on Thursday with 149 votes in favour and 58 against, IANS reported Xinhua news agency as stating.
Earlier, 19 petitions were filed with the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka after the Port City bill was tabled in the Parliament on April 8.
Delivering its ruling to the Parliament on Tuesday, the country’s top court said that the bill could be passed with a simple majority provided key clauses be amended to confirm with the Sri Lankan Constitution.
Asserting the Port City bill provides a competitive framework to attract investment, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had told the Parliament that this project would create 200,000 jobs in the first five years.
Port City Colombo, Director, Sales and Marketing, Yamuna Jayaratne, has said the country enjoys several advantages in the cost of doing business in comparison with established and mature services hubs.