By Lynn Ockersz
The Sri Lankan state will exercise sovereign control over the CHEC Port City Colombo project and would remain accountable to the people of Sri Lanka by virtue of the fact that the project would remain open to scrutiny by the Sri Lankan parliament, Assistant Managing Director, CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd. Thulci Aluwihare told ‘The Island Financial Review’ in an interview.
Besides, all revenues received by the project would be remitted to Sri Lanka’s Consolidated Fund and would remain within the country, Aluwihare pointed out in a wide-ranging interview with this newspaper, where he debunked the allegation that the CHEC Port City Colombo project will be a ‘sell out’ to the Chinese, rendering the investment area a ‘Çhinese colony’. Besides, the Colombo Port City would not turn Sri Lanka into a ‘money laundering haven.”
Elaborating Aluwihare said: ‘Principal among our aims is the attraction of foreign investment to the country. $ 1.4 billion has been spent by the project company over reclaiming the relevant land from the sea. For a consideration, the state has granted a ‘No Lease Hold Right’ over 116 hectares of the project land which is the ‘master lease’. Under this arrangement 48 marketable blocks of land would be on offer for investment. What is of importance is that in all these transactions the state will be a principal party.
“Even if an investor obtains a “No Lease Hold Right” from the state in respect of a project, the investor would need to obtain a licence from the CHEC Port City Commission to operate. The Commission would issue such licenses with conditions. And the Commission holds the right to revoke such licenses if the conditions are not met.
“In all these transactions, the government of Sri Lanka is the lessor. The investor would be signing a lease with the government of Sri Lanka, who will be the landlord.
‘The majority of members of the Commission would be Sri Lankans. But we need experienced, competent people for this apex body. Accordingly, the Commission needs to enjoy some autonomy and independence as well in employing personnel.
“The anti-money laundering laws that have been operative in this country would continue to be enforced strongly. It is only loose regulatory laws that lead to problems like money laundering. But there will be no let-up by Sri Lanka on this score. The monetary authorities would continue to stringently apply the regulations but these regulations should also need to be market-driven. We expect sophisticated transactions though.
‘It is important to point out that the local courts will have jurisdiction in the Port City. Here too there is no dilution of the state’s sovereignty.
“Our region has progressed into a services economy. We need to compete with countries such as Singapore, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, for example, to attract FDI. You need to offer fiscal and other incentives to attract FDI to Sri Lanka. A dip of 40 per cent of FDI in Sri Lanka last year, drives the point home. But given our location, we are in a position to talk about Sri Lanka as a business destination.
“Of principal importance is the supply chain impact the Port City project would have on Sri Lanka. Local enterprises dealing with the Port City will be paid in dollars and not local currency. Even Sri Lankan SMEs which are part of the supply chain will be paid in dollars. There is also potential for local employment generation where the income earners will be paid in dollars.
“At present there are some 4000 employment opportunities for locals in the Port City. Currently, 1500 to 1800 locals are employed in the project. So, there are growing opportunities for locals in this initiative. They would get the opportunity to work for some the world’s most prominent brands in their own backyard and for dollar remuneration.
‘Sri Lanka produces 25,000 graduates annually. One third of these belong to the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and allied fields. But 20 to 25 percent of these graduates migrate. Our graduates could now work for a multinational company if the opportunities offered by the Port City project are availed of.”
Sri Lanka Tourism introduces e-learning platform for all SLTDA registered tourist guides.
As an initiative to uplift the reviving tourism industry in the country, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority in collaboration with Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM) have introduced the continuous professional development (CPD) e-learning platform to all registered guides to enhance their knowledge and skills.
The launch of the continuous professional development (CPD) e-learning platform took place this week under the patronage of Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga, Secretary of the Ministry S. Hettiarachchi and Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando.
“Tourist guides play an important role in our tourism sector as they spend a lot of time with visitors from arrival to departure. It is important that our guides stay updated on their professional/technical knowledge and I hope this e-learning platform by Sri Lanka Tourism will help them enhance their knowledge and skills” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando shared while the Minister congratulated all the officials who were involved in bringing this initiative to reality.
Knowledge improvement, obtaining expertise knowledge from veterans, develop active participation with guests, improve the link between Tourism institutions & guides are some key objectives of this e-learning platform.
If you are a registered guide with SLTDA, you can now sign up on https://sltda.gov.lk/e-learning/login and avail of the online courses.
A certificate of completion will be given at the end of the course from SLTDA and SLITHM.
Impact of Climate Change on marine and fresh water resources and combating water pollution
Trilateral virtual dialogue among Pathfinder Foundation, Russian International Affairs Council and Asian Confluence
The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) has initiated a trilateral dialogue involving Sri Lanka, India and the Russian Federation to discuss issues of contemporary relevance. The first trilateral dialogue will be held to day 4:30 PM SLST on the “Impact of Climate Change on Marine and Fresh Water Resources and Combating Water Pollution: Best Practices from Russia, Sri Lanka and India”.
For this dialogue, Pathfinder Foundation will be partnering with Russian International Affairs Council and Asian Confluence.
The distinguished panellists for the webinar are, Ambassador GlebIvashentsov, Vice President, Russian International Affairs Council, Ambassador (Retd.) Bernard Goonetilleke, Chairman Pathfinder Foundation, Ambassador. IFS(Retd.) Rajiv Kumar Bhatia, Member Governing Council, The Asian Confluence and Distinguished Fellow, Gateway House,Dr. Anastasia Likhacheva, Director, Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, Higher Schoolof Economics, Dr. B. V. R. Punyawardena, Chairman, National Steering Committee on Climate Change Adaptation, Governmentof Sri Lanka, Dr. Fraddry D’Souza, Area ConvenerandFellow, The Coastal Ecology & Marine Resources Centre, TERI Goa,India , Dr. Konstantin Zgurovsky, Senior Advisor, Marine Programme, WWF Russia, Mr. Sarath Premalal, Retired Director General of Meteorology of Sri Lanka and Prof. Vinay Kumar Dadhwal, Director, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology Professor Indira Gandhi Chair, National Institute of Advanced Studies, India
Those who are interested in participating may kindly register at the following link; https://bit.ly/3AZbYAN Program details are available at https://bit.ly/3zdUkY3 . The event will also be live streamed on the PF Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/pathfinderfoundation/
Doc990 and MyDoctor partner SLVA to extend accessible veterinary services islandwide
Sri Lanka’s premier digital health solutions service providers, Doc990 and MyDoctor are now enabling customers to access online veterinary services island-wide in partnership with the Sri Lanka Veterinary Association.
The national professional body serving and representing the interests of the veterinary profession in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Veterinary Association (SLVA), is dedicated to providing continued excellence within the profession of animal medicine and the provision of outstanding care for all animals while also actively creating public awareness of the contribution of veterinarians island-wide.
This collaborative effort with Doc990 and MyDoctor will bring pet owners, owners of farm animals and good Samaritans the ability to access remote video consultations with leading, specialist veterinarians of their choosing, without the hassle of physically entering hospital waiting rooms, transporting animals etc. This timely, contactless service will not only be convenient but also a relief to pet owners and caretakers in the backdrop of travel restrictions as a result of the ongoing global pandemic.
Customers can engage in video consultations with their chosen vet by downloading the Doc990 mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store. Through its widening network of hospitals and medical services, Doc990 strives to make health care accessible and convenient for all Sri Lankans.
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