More orders under Strategic Dev. Projects Act passed

Champika joins Ven. Ratana in voting against ‘Casino Bill’



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Many UPFA, Opposition MPs absent

By Saman Indrajith


Two orders the government moved yesterday under the Strategic Development Projects Act were passed. The first one for setting up of Waterfront Properties Pvt. Ltd was ratified with a majority of 68 votes, 112 in favour and 44 against.


The following government members skipped the vote: Sumedha G Jayasena, Basheer Segudawood, A. L. M. Athaulla, Mahinda Amaraweera, Dilan Perera, Rishad Bathudeen, Gamini Lokuge, Wimal Weerawansa, Rajith Senaratne, Rauff Hakim, Premalal Jayasekera, Weerakumara Dissanayake, Mutthu Sivalingam, M.A.L.M. Hisbullah, Hassen Ali, Mohamed Azlam, Faizer Casim, Prabha Ganeshan, Sajin De Vass Gunawardena, M. S. Thawfeeq, Palani Digambaram, Ramesh Pathirana, Dr Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Tharanath Basnayake, Chamika Buddhadasa, Ven. Ellawela Medhananda, Ruwan Ranathunga, Roshan Ranasinghe, Lohan Ratwatte, Namal Rajapaksa, Perumal Rajadurai, V. Radha Krishnan, Vidura Wickremanayake, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Upeksha Swarnamali, P Dayaratne, Shehan Semasinghe, Kanaka Herath, M. Haris, Hunais Farooq, Naveen Dissanayake, Uditha Lokubandara, Eric Prasanna Weerawardhane, V. K. Indika and T. B. Ekanayake.


The vote on the second order permitting the setting up of Lake Leisure Holdings Pvt Ltd, received 109 votes in favour and 44 votes against and was passed with a majority of 65 votes.


When the vote was taken on the second order, Ministers Bandula Gunawardena and Piyasena Gamage and Wasantha Senanayake were not in the Chamber. They had voted for the first order.


JHU heavyweights Minister Champika Ranawaka, Ven. Aturaliye Ratana Thera voted against both orders.


At the end of the debate on orders under the Strategic Development Projects Act No 14 of 2008 Acting Opposition Leader John Amaratunga called for a division by name.


The UNP, DNA and TNA voted against the orders.Minister of investment Promotions Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena presented two gazettes containing the orders for the debate in the House.


The gazette notifications provide for tax concessions for a project company known as Waterfront Properties (Private) Ltd to establish and operate an Integrated Super Luxury Tourist Resort facility which includes high-end shopping malls and high quality residencies and office spaces/ service spaces ‘with associated facilities’, which the Opposition claims include casinos, in two phases at Glennie Street/Justice Akbar Mawatha, Colombo 2 and for a company known as Lake


Leisure Holdings (Private) Ltd to set up and operate an Integrated Super Luxury Tourist Resort which consists 400 rooms including high end shopping malls, high quality residencies and office spaces/ service spaces with associated facilities at D. R. Wijewardena Mawatha, Colombo 10.


The foreign direct investment of the two projects would be USD 650 million, Parliament was told.


According to the gazette notifications, the provisions of the Inland Revenue Act, No. 10 of 2006 as amended, on the imposition of income tax shall not apply to the profit of the Project Companies generated from the activities of the projects including sale, lease, rent proceeds of apartments, office and services space, room charges and rental income from all tenants, for a period of ten years reckoned from the year of assessment.


The said Tax Exemption Period will commence from either the first year in which the Project Companies make taxable profit or three years from the date of commencement of Commercial Operations of the Projects, whichever occurs earlier. Commencing immediately after the expiration of the aforesaid Tax Exemption Period, there will be a Partial Tax Exemption Period of 12 years relating to the profits and income of the Project Companies that are generated from the activities of the Project, during which time a tax rate of Six per centum (6%) of fifty per centum (50%) of the Income Tax rate prevailing at the time for the hotel industry, whichever is lower, shall apply."


The Project Companies will be exempted from having to deduct and pay Withholding Tax with regard to the following : on interest on foreign loans and debt taken for capital expenditure and on technical fees ; on management fees and royalty payments and provided however the total of such charges does not exceed three per centum (3%) of the gross operating revenue ; on marketing fees provided however the total of such fees does not exceed one point five per centum (1.5%) of the gross operating revenue ; and on incentive management fees provided however the total of such fees does not exceed ten per centum (10%) of the gross operating profit.


The expatriate staff of the Project Companies shall be exempted from the charge and of payment PAYE tax subject to a restriction that this concession shall apply subject to the maximum number of 30 employees. This concession shall be applicable for a period of five years from the date of commencement of commercial operations. The Project Companies shall be required to gradually replace expatriate staff with local employees on a best efforts basis.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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