ECONOMYNEXT – An investor proposing to make high-speed trains in Sri Lanka has asked for a range of concessions including duty free import of helicopters, ships and vehicles, liquor licenses, over 4,000 acres of land and subsidized electricity.
The island’s Board of Investment (BOI), which gives investors incentives like tax breaks, said the wide range of concessions sought was one of the reasons the government was taking time to access and approve the proposal by Ceylon High Speed Railways Ltd., in Nugape, Pamunugama.
The firm was incorporated in April 2014 with two Sri Lankan directors, V. Don Anushka Renu and Mahathelge Margaret Dias.
It has proposed setting up a high speed train manufacturing plant including seven final assembly plants and 34 factories to make sub-systems for the final assembly lines with support from German and Italian parties, a BOI statement said.
Ceylon High Speed Railways wants capital goods to be imported free of Customs duty and all other charges including four helicopters, 22 ‘special vehicles for families of investors’, two ships and 10,000 mobile phones along with 220 prime movers, 40 excavators and 600 fork lifts.
It also asked for relaxation of import and export controls and 95 percent special income tax exemption and all spare parts and fuels on tax free basis along with electricity under special tariff.
It wants to buy 2,242 acres of government land in three locations, including 1,440 acres in Karuwalagaswewa, in Puttalam , 555 acres from Muthurajawela between Nugape and the Colombo – Katunayake expressway and 247 acres in Horana.
It also wants to buy 1,823 acres of private land in six locations, including 260 acres in Karuwalagaswewa, 805 acres in Tanamalwila, 244 acres in Bandagiriya, Hambantota and 514 acres in Ranna, Hambantota.
The total land area of 4,065 acres in these nine locations must be declared as licensed zones under the BOI law, Ceylon High Speed Railways has said.
It also wants permission to operate a private bank and set up a private university along with license to set up ‘ educational’ public television and radio channels in Sinhala and Tamil languages.
The investor also want a three-star level accommodation building in each zone with license for foreign liquor and a club license to cater to the needs of foreign employees
It also wants to build a dedicated jetty in Muthurajawela.
The company proposed investing 488 million euro as initial investment on capital goods over eight years and indicated working capital is to be invested by a European company or individual with the whole investment being 2.2 billion euro on completion.
The project to export high speed trains will employ 24,860 people including 2,400 foreigners and generate export revenue of 5-7 billion euros in seven years, which is about 30 percent of Sri Lanka’s current exports, the BOI said.
(COLOMBO, 06 October 2018)