CoPF appreciates Port City Economic Commission | Daily News

CoPF appreciates Port City Economic Commission

CoPF Chairman addressing the participants.
CoPF Chairman addressing the participants.

The Committee on Public Finance (CoPF) chaired by MP Dr. Harsha De Silva greatly appreciated the swift action taken by the Port City Economic Commission (PCEC) following the previous meeting on January 5 to give redress to the online presence of the Commission and the submission of audited accounts for 2021, which were key issues raised by the Committee at the previous meeting.

The Port City Economic Commission was summoned by the Committee on Public Finance yesterday (19).

Initially having established per the Act, the Port City Economic Commission is a body corporate under the ordinances that govern a Commercial enteritis in Sri Lanka and is wholly owned by the State, discussion centred on the legality of enterprises incorporated in the territory and their scope therein.

With CoPF raising some technical prerequisites for the validity of issued licences, it was agreed that the burden of proof would lay with the applicant when the Port City Economic Commission was queried about its capacity and capability to check the validity of the information provided in the application. It was confirmed that a register of all companies within the territory designate will be maintained electronically – accessible to the public.

The Committee raised concerns about the privilege of applicants who have freedom to choose to conduct business outside the Colombo Port City citing the varying tax policies. The Commission responded that corporates will be imbued with the power to formulate their own Human Resource policies with regard to salary structures.

The Chairman of the Finance Committee said that this would need to be strictly monitored in the future and possibly revisited as it leaves room for malpractice. Additionally, on an interim basis, if the Minister in charge authorises and nominates a location, companies can, for an interim period of no longer than five years, open an enterprise outside the Port City.

When the Committee queried the mention of surcharges and fines, the Port City Economic Commission confirmed that they are working with the Attorney General’s Department and respective regulators to confirm the parameters of penalties. Dr. Harsha reiterated that the Port City Economic Commission cannot take on the job of multiple regulators when governing the Colombo Port City. He directed them to work closely with the Finance Ministry who are already under instructions by the Finance Committee to finalise a gaming regulator by the end of 2023 for Sri Lanka.

Dispute Resolution was addressed, and it was confirmed that as per the act, the arbitrary body within the Port City will only provide a space for conflict resolution, however all judicial matters will be taken up on a priority basis at Magistrate and Civil courts within the borders of Sri Lanka. The Attorney General’s Office confirmed that this will be reviewed in the future.

All Gazettes submitted for review were approved conditional to further redress to provide more clarity to the process of renewing licences and ensure that the Port City Economic Commission regularly meet to ensure future avoidance of delays for the submission of audits and other legally required queries.

State Ministers Dr. Suren Raghavan, Anupa Pasqual, Members of Parliament Chandima Weerakkodi, Mayantha Dissanayake, Prof. Ranjith Bandara, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Premnath C. Dolawatte, Madhura Withanage and officials of the Port City Economic Commission and Attorney General’s Department were present.



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