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Colombo Port City: Regulations gazetted to register offshore companies

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The Government has gazetted regulations to fully permit the registration of offshore companies in the Chinese-built Colombo Port City but the promulgation of a framework allowing incentives and exemptions to “businesses of strategic importance” (BSIs) is still overdue, official sources said.

The enactment of enabling legislation to allow for widespread activities within the Port City continues to lag, the sources pointed out.

For instance, guidelines for businesses to obtain operating licences were first published in late September. They said companies seeking permits to set up within the Port City area must pay a US$ 2,500 application fee and a US$ 2,000 annual fee to allow them to qualify as “authorised persons” in the specified areas.

But application forms for the registration of such businesses with the Registrar-General of Companies (RGC) were only gazetted two weeks ago. Accordingly, provided the required documents are in order, the RGC shall register a business as an offshore company within three days. And it will be entered into a Register of Offshore Companies-Colombo Port City Commission.

However, the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act also makes provision for companies to be categorised as BSIs whereupon they will receive exemptions or incentives. These must be promulgated by regulation. But they are under discussion, the sources said, expressing concern that investor interest could flag. The classifications and definitions are yet to be decided upon, they said. As it stands, therefore, a company can be licensed and continue to operate under the directors of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act minus the incentives and exemptions it would receive if classified as a BSI, they said.

“The latest gazette should have come out two-and-a-half months ago,” one source pointed out. “But two gazettes were issued and one wasn’t. A lot of investor interest was built up. They are now waiting to see what incentives and exemptions they would qualify for. Bear in mind that Colombo Port City faces competition from a global perspective.”

In July, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) authorised a special class of bank account called the Colombo Port City Investment Account (CPCIA) exclusively to carry out business in the Port City Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

There are two types of CPCIAs—investor and investee. The accounts may be used by companies seeking to attract foreign currency from overseas to establish businesses.

Banks setting up within Port City will be licensed under the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act for carrying out business within its area of authority. They will be governed by rules and regulations issued by the Commission and not CBSL. But the guidelines are formulated in consultation with the Monetary Board of Sri Lanka and the Finance Ministry.

(sundaytimes.lk)

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Indian-owned ship held in Colombo after oil spill; travel ban imposed on captain

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The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) has taken custody of a ship which had caused an oil spill while anchored at the Colombo Port.

A spokesperson of the MEPA stated that legal action has been initiated against the company that owns the ship and the relevant insurance company regarding the oil spill. Under the Marine Environment Protection Authority Act, the MEPA is seeking compensation for the incident, the authority revealed.

The ship, owned by an Indian company, had recently arrived at the Port of Colombo for maintenance activities. A special investigation conducted by MEPA had revealed a leak of hydraulic oil from the ship. The company’s owner has admitted to the incident and agreed to provide compensation, according to the MEPA.

Furthermore, the Colombo Magistrate Court has imposed a travel ban on the captain of the ship preventing him from leaving the country, as per a request made by the Colombo Port Police.

(This story, originally published by adaderana.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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5 companies fined Rs. 1,243 Mn. for illegal gold imports

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State Finance Minister Dr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that five companies have been identified for illegally importing gold into Sri Lanka during the past few years, and fines of Rs.1,243 million have been imposed on those companies.

The Minister said that one of the related companies was ordered to pay Rs.179 million as fines.

Emphasising that from now on, all licensed institutions carrying out import of gold goods should avoid these illegal acts, the Minister said that the relevant institutions will also be charged fines for the gold purchased by even third parties considering the production reports.

He said the efforts to stabilise the state revenue of the country are currently being carried out by closing all the loopholes related to the loss of state revenue gradually.

Certain parties who import gold goods have turned this into a big racket and therefore there is a mafia around it.There were various challenges and threats when the government tried to curb this mafia initially.

The Minister further said that there were various levels of threats, pressure and intimidation, and the government did not waver in the face of all these challenges and moved to the second step.

(dailynews.lk)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Teachers & Principals launch TU action

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Teachers and principals in schools across the island will engage in trade union action today.

Convenor of the National Collective Against Teachers’ and Principals’ Salary Disparities Venerable Ulapane Sumangala Thero, says teachers and principals will report sick today.

The decision has been made due to the lack of solutions provided to issues related to salary anomalies.

In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Education confirmed that schools will operate as usual today and tomorrow.

Meanwhile, The strike initiated by non-academic employees of state universities continues for the 29th consecutive day.

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