Sri Lanka gives sweeping tax breaks for project on acquired land

July 28, 2014 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has proposed sweeping tax breaks for a controversial project where lands of private citizens were taken over for a commercial development. The 429.5 million US dollar project in Colombo’s Slave Island area including 130 million US dollars of foreign investments will get a 10 year corporate income tax holiday and a 06 year tax holiday for profits on sale of apartments.

Dividends will also be tax free for 10 years.

A gazette notice under Sri Lanka’s strategic investment law said it was a “pioneer concept for urban renewal enabling the Urban Development Authority to acquire private lands in under developed/underserved areas of Colombo City and provide a better housing/commercial area with amenities to the habitants on a part of the said area.”

Acquisition private lands for commercial purposes by the state had come under fire as a further undermining of property rights and freedoms of citizens in Sri Lanka.

Opposition legislators have also called for giving a legal effect to a policy on involuntary re-settlement of inhabitants by the state, developed in the mid 1990s to protect people from the coercive powers to the state fr