Port City Bill more transparent than GCEC Act – Minister
Posted on April 18th, 2021

Chaminda Perera Courtesy The Daily News

Education Minister Prof.G.L.Peiris yesterday said that those who are filing petitions in the Supreme Court, challenging the constitutionality of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill, have forgotten the Greater Colombo Economic Commission Act (GCEC) which was passed in Parliament in 1978.

He said the Greater Colombo Economic Commission Bill adopted in Parliament in 1978 exempted usual tax laws of the country such as Inland Revenue Act and Foreign Exchange Act.

The Minister said that a number of groups including the Samagi Jana Balawegaya and the United National Party are involved in a disinformation campaign over the Bill without any basis.

The Education Minister was speaking to the media after calling on the Most Ven.Ittapane Dhammalankara Thera at Sri Dharma Wijayaloka Maha Viharaya in Pannipitiya yesterday. The Minister during the meeting had made the Thera aware of the current situation of the country.

Over 20 petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill. But the SJB and the UNP have forgotten what was done soon after former President J.R. Jayewardene came to power in 1977”, he said.

The Minister said the incumbent President has to approve the Master Plan of the Colombo Port City and any revision in the Master Plan too has to be approved by the President under the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill. The accounts of the Commission are required to be audited annually and the final Audit report should to be submitted to the President.

The Minister added that Security Forces and the Police have full access to the Colombo Port city.

The law enforcement authorities can take action if any crime is taking place in the Colombo Port City. The police can take action against any violation of law within the Colombo Port City

He said that the former President Jayewardene believed that an Act in the form of Greater Colombo Economic Commission Bill was the need of the hour to spur development by bringing more and more investments.

This Act passed in the Sri Lanka Parliament in 1978 did not apply to the areas of authority that comes under the purview of the Greater Colombo Economic Commission.This Bill was presented in Parliament within 3 to 4 months of President J.R.Jayewardene forming the UNP government”, he said.

The Minister said that Greater Colombo Economic Commission had allowed banking institutes to accept deposits from non Sri Lankans. This Commission has allowed the banking institutes to operate secret numbered bank accounts of its constituents who are not citizens of Sri Lanka. Powers were given to the Commission to punish those who uncovered the identity of these depositors,” he said.

He said that the Greater Colombo Economic Commission Act introduced by then President J.R.Jayewardene had allowed any fraudster to make deposits in the banking system.

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