Monday, 27 June 2011

Sale and no more land leases for foreigners

Legislation is being introduced to remove existing legal impediments in the sale of land to foreigners and foreign companies to develop state land in major towns occupied by people illegally.
These people are now being evicted, government officials said. The current system of levying a 100% tax on land transfers to foreigners will be removed by introducing a special land tax in order to prevent the sale of land at inflated prices to foreign buyers, making huge profits completely tax free and thereby cheating the government of revenue while also breaking immigration laws. 
Under the present system, a foreigner or a foreign company can buy tax-free land if their investment for the whole project is over US$10 million.
Foreigners are now allowed to own land in Sri Lanka with some restrictions. The purpose of this 100% tax is to discourage foreigners acquiring properties in Sri Lanka. However a joint venture company incorporated in Sri Lanka (with foreign participation) is not liable to pay that tax. Furthermore the condominium units of residential or non-residential accommodation on or above the 6th floor of a registered condominium apartment constructed with the approval of the UDA are exempt from such 100% tax, the Finance Ministry official said.

(Source: Sunday Times)

Chinese to build luxury port city off Galle Face

Govt gets US$ 700 million offer for 500-acres of sea land
China which has been increasingly involved in Sri Lanka’s economy, has secured another lucrative deal — creating a new 500-acre, port city on reclaimed land on the sea off the Galle Face Green. A top Government source, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the deal, said the government had agreed to the US$700 million offer from a Chinese investor. The offer has been channelled through Chinese authorities.

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority will oversee the reclamation project which will be divided into three segments -- business, residential and leisure. A mini-golf course, a Formula One race track, a small yacht marina and areas for water sports will be created. The feasibility study and an environmental impact assessment conducted by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Moratuwa University have been completed.

(Source: Sunday Times)

Eastern destinations to propel Sri Lankan tourism growth

Several hotel projects and tourism-related infrastructure are fast coming up in Eastern Sri Lanka, once ravaged by war, to propel the country to surpass its last year's tourist arrivals by a wide margin.
East Sri Lanka has some of the best beaches in Trincomalee (Uppuveli beach) and Batticaloa (Pasikuda), and off Ampara (Arugam Bay). In Pasikuda alone, 14 new hotel projects are coming up, with a total capacity of 1,000 rooms. Most projects have a gestation period of just over a year. The first one off the block, Maalu Maalu (meaning fish), has just opened for business.

(Source: The Hindu)