With the opening of the Colombo Port City for investors last December, Sri Lanka is expected to attract billions of U.S. dollars for investments and create over 80,000 jobs, transforming the island into a regional business and financial hub in the coming years.
The first stage, which includes the land reclamation and filling, is now completed and the second phase of the Port City project has now commenced. US$1.4 billion was invested to reclaim land from the sea.
The project, funded by the Chinese government, was contracted to a Chinese company. It adds 269 hectares to Sri Lanka as a valuable extension to the Colombo Central Business District. When completed, it would be one-seventh the size of Singapore.
The Survey Department has also made a mapping of Colombo, covering the newly added territory. The Colombo Port City, Sri Lanka’s largest Foreign Direct Investment project, will have the region’s first Financial City, a special financial zone.
China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. has undertaken to invest US$ 400 million to construct an office, a retail store and apartment towers, each with minimum 65 stories at the Colombo Port City.
This will be constructed on the South Entrance on the reclaimed land dedicated to the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC). The construction will start this year and will be completed by 2023. It is expected to be the most livable city in South Asia with 5.7 million square feet of built space.
It was also pointed out at a recent round table event organized by CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd. Public Relations Head, Kassapa Senarath for members of ‘Think Tanks’, Editors and senior journalists in Colombo that the Colombo Port City would be an ideal location to attract Chinese companies and people who want to migrate to other countries.
CHEC has also undertaken community development projects with Rs. 550 million allocated for a Fishermen Livelihood Improvement Program. Priority has been given to local elements and localized procurement and systematic training has been provided for 1,500 local suppliers.
“The Good Governance Government, which came to power in 2015, suspended the construction of the project and amended the original agreement resulting in a major economic loss to the country,” said former Ports Authority Chairman and Secretary, Urban Development and Water Supply Ministry, Priyath Bandu Wickrama.
“Nearly 1,000 Sri Lankan employees were left jobless after the project was suspended. The country had to pay huge damages to the Chines Company for breaching the contract signed by Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2014. This resulted in an unwanted three year delay which was a major economic loss to the country,” he noted.