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Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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Hambantota to be free port
 

Dr. Priyath, B. Wickrema 

Hambantota which is an industrial port will be a free port with no tax involvements.

Users are free to use the port for loading, value addition and distribution without any taxes. “Our target is to start cargo handling operations before the end of this year with the expected investments in place”, Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dr. Priyath B. Wickrama told Daily News Business.

“The free port concept will enable the port users to operate without additional charges other than port handling and rent or lease charges,” the Chairman said.

“The Hambantota Port could meet the revenue target by attracting 10 percent of the ships passing the port. Therefore, special emphasis is paid to the facilities offered by the port to make it of high standard and quality, he said.

The Hambantota Port Phase One will be completed by end of October one year ahead of schedule. It is expected to generate 5,000 direct and 50,000 indirect job opportunities.

Youth in the Hambantota area will have openings for numerous employment avenues and it is necessary to provide them with technical training necessary for the skilled and semi skilled categories.

The Government is planning to set up a Free Trade Zone between Hambantota port and Weerawila airport. This will also generate many employment opportunities.

“We have a challenge to upgrade manpower to meet the growing demand created by the development activities in the area.

The SLPA has started its own training programs with the assistance of the NAITA and other technical colleges in the area.

However, these programs are not sufficient to train the entire workforce and we seek assistance from technical colleges in Ratnapura, Moneragala and Matara to meet the demand, Wickrama said.

Meanwhile the project committee formed two months back will complete the Request For Proposal (RFP) process and finalize the investor profile for the investment opportunities created by the Hambantota Port development activities within a month.

There will be investment opportunities in cement, fertilizer, warehousing, raw material, multi country consolidation, food processing, assembling and value addition at the port after the completion of this process.
(DN-03032010)

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