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Overvaluation of state land keeps out foreign investors: Minister

Feb 22, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Lands Minister John Amarathunga says investors are reluctant to invest in state lands due to their overvaluation by government assessors. Amarathunga told Parliament on Wednesday that the relevant authorities have already been informed about the situation. “When we are leasing out or selling land owned by the state or Land Reforms Commission, the valuation is so high,” Amarathunga emphasized.
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“Ordinary businessman can’t pay that much for land. It's the government valuation, but it’s an over valuation. If we overvalued it investors won’t come to Sri Lanka.” Government of Sri Lanka possesses lands that belong to the state as well as to the Land Reforms Commission. Lands Minister John Amarathunga however says the government still does not have a proper land register. “We are still unable to find a proper register of these lands. Some officials are hiding information on these lands,” Amarathunga stressed. According to the minister, those include certain district secretaries and directors appointed to the Land Reform Commission. “Even though we questioned them they are not giving us details of these lands. This is a big issue.” Amarathunga said as a solution to this issue the Prime Minister has proposed to amend the State Land Act and to bring a new law to stock lands. “This new law will bring all state owned lands together and through a newly established director board these lands will be disposed for investments,” he said. “That way we can facilitate foreign investors by providing them required lands.”
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