Leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna Anura Kumara Dissanayake stated today (11) that the port city is a special zone which does not belong to any local government area.
He also brought to attention that local government areas are governed by elected representatives of the people living there. Whereas the port city is governed by a commission appointed by the President.
“This Commission has special financial powers. The Commission has a separate fund. Government revenue is added to the Consolidated Fund. Parliamentary approval is required to obtain money from it. However, the Port City Economic Commission can maintain a separate fund outside of it that does not require parliamentary approval,” he stated.
He also raised the issue that the Port City Economic Commission has the power to grant various tax concessions. “Generally, only Parliament can grant tax relief, but this ‘province’ has special tax relief,” he said.
Speaking further, he said, “The money received by the state is subject to the supervision of the Auditor General. However, the Port City Economic Commission’s money is audited by a private company. It has been removed from the state audit.”
He stated that Government agencies may be summoned before Parliament for COPA and COPE, but this ‘Chinese province’ cannot be summoned to parliament.
“Only foreigners can invest in this port city. It has indirectly prevented local businessmen from investing in Sri Lanka as only those who raise funds from abroad can invest here. In a nutshell, this is a separate state. It is stated that the salaries of those working in this port city area should be paid in a designated foreign currency. It could be the Chinese ‘yuan’,” he said.
Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the income of employees working here is exempt from income tax. It is stated that the money can be deposited in a foreign currency account in this country.