Only Sri Lankans on PCC | Sunday Observer

Only Sri Lankans on PCC

5 June, 2021

Speculation over the membership of Port City Commission (PCC) can now be laid to rest with the President appointing its members on May 31, where all are of Sri Lankans.

With the appointment, the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act will be implemented in full.

The Commission headed by Gamini Marapana PC includes Treasury Secretary S. R. Attygalle, Dr. (Eng) Priyath Bandu Wickrama, Saliya Wickramasuriya, Kushan Kodithuwakku, Gerard George Ondaatjie and Rohan De Silva.


The appointment takes place after Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane validated the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill following Parliamentary debates where the Opposition brought various allegations over the legality and perceived risks of the Bill.

One of the most debated clauses was Section 7 (1) that did not state the nationality of the Commission, comprising five to seven members, including the Chairperson, appointed by the President.

The Supreme Court, after considering petitions filed against the Bill, determined that this wasn’t against the Constitution. Court stated: “We are of the view that Clause 7 sufficiently sets out the criteria for the selection of members to the Commission. Therefore, it does not lead to arbitrary exercise of discretion.

Any appointment, that is not in accordance with the law is open for judicial review in appropriate legal proceedings. Hence, Court is of the view that Clause 7 is not inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution.”

However, during proceedings, the Attorney General representing the government position, communicated that changes will be submitted to the Bill to ensure that a majority of members would be Sri Lankan citizens.

The Opposition continued to create a fear psychosis that by allowing foreign nationals to hold any of the Commission’s membership could threaten the sovereignty of Sri Lanka and that it could undermine the existing financial policies of the government.


However, when the Opposition was in power, they too valued the project and continued it, stating its importance for an economic boom.

The President has laid all these doubts to rest by filling all seven seats with high profile Sri Lankan personalities who could spearhead Sri Lanka’s economy through the US $15 billion foreign investment that is the Port City Colombo.

The project came into the limelight during the past few months with the introduction of the Port City Economic Commission Bill. However, the Supreme Court ruled that the Bill, with certain amendments, could be passed with a simple majority in Parliament.

Thereafter, the Bill was passed in Parliament, declaring the 269 hectares of reclaimed land as the country’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for services-oriented industries.

Under this new legislation, the Commission appointed by the President will govern the SEZ.


The Commission enables ease of doing business by being a single-window management committee for foreign investors to bring multi-million dollar projects to Sri Lanka, creating a business-friendly and competitive environment to operate in any recognised foreign currency within Port City.

Creating an enabling environment to attract foreign investments through tax and duty concessions for both domestic and foreign investors, Port City Colombo is set to generate nearly 200,000 direct and indirect jobs where a majority of it would go to Sri Lankans, according to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

It plans to become a major financial and services hub in South Asia. The Port City’s operations now lay in the hands of the seven-member Commission whose term will be for three years.

According to the new legislation, the members of the Commission should possess “relevant knowledge, expertise and experience and national or international recognition, in the fields of investment, finance, law, information technology, engineering, business or accountancy,” and the President was in keeping to this clause with the appointments.


The Chairman Gamini Marapana PC was the Counsel for the Intervenient Petition filed by Minister of Education Prof. G.L. Peiris in support of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Draft Bill, following a number of Special Determination Petitions filed against the draft bill at the Supreme Court.

He is the brother of Tilak Marapana PC, who served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the ‘Good Governance’ or ‘Yahapalana’ Government.

S. R. Attygalle is Secretary to the Treasury since November 20, 2019. He is also a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank and has been on release to the Treasury since 2003.

He has over 25 years of experience in both fiscal and monetary policy, having served in many positions including as Director General of both the Department of Fiscal Policy and Department of Public Enterprises.

He has also served as the Chairman of the National Savings Bank and has also represented the Treasury on the Boards of several key State Owned Enterprises and Statutory Boards.

Attygalle holds a Masters (M.Sc.) Degree in Quantitative Development Economics from the Warwick University, United Kingdom and a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Degree in Physical Science from the University of Colombo.

Dr. (Eng) Priyath Bandu Wickrama, Secretary to the Ministry of Water Supply, was the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) when the Port City Project was inaugurated in 2014. During his tenure as SLPA Chairman, he had been managing sea ports in Sri Lanka to ensure that they are self supporting enterprises.

He was the key personnel in facilitating the enhancement of Sri Lanka’s image as a major maritime nation.


Dr. Wickrama was also the Chairman of the Jaya Container Terminals Ltd., Chairman of the Sri Lanka Port Management and Consultancy Services (Pvt.) Ltd. He held director posts at several other state organisations such as the National Paper Company Ltd and Urban Development Authority of Sri Lanka.

Dr. Wickrama graduated from the University of Moratuwa with a BSc Honours in Mechanical Engineering. He holds a Doctorate in Operation Management.

Saliya Wickramasuriya was a former Chairman/ DG of Board of Investment and SLPA during 2004 to 2008. He also served as Director General at the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat. He is an experienced independent consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the E&P and energy industry in both the service sector and government.

He is a professionally trained upstream regulator, skilled in gas, petroleum, operations management, sales and marketing and oilfield. He is a strong consulting professional with a degree in Engineering Physics from Loughborough University of Technology followed by three decades in the field.

Kushan Kodithuwakku is Managing Director at Orel Corporation, heading a third generation of Sri Lankan multinational family business that employees 7,000 personnel and operates across six continents.

He holds a BSc in industrial engineering from the University of New Haven, USA. He served as the chairman of the Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs, and he is recognised with awards and accolades such as FCCISL’s Entrepreneur of the year Gold Award 2005, National Quality Award, CCC’s Best CSR award 2012, and NCE’s Most Outstanding Exporter of the year Award 2018.

Gerard George Ondaatjie is Managing Director (Executive) of Mercantile Investments. He is a visionary thinker and strategic ideator, with exposure across a myriad of industries including tourism and hotels, automobile, financial services and trading.

With a BSc in Accountancy from the Arizona State University in the USA, Ondaatjie contributes in strategic management, human resource management, finance, public relations, governance and risk management.

He also provides his expertise to a number of Board sub-committees at Mercantile Investments including the Nomination Committee, Integrated Risk Management Committee and Credit Committee. Ondaatjie is also Chairman to a number of other enterprises.


Rohan De Silva is a dynamic entrepreneur and a well-established business practitioner with 40 years in varied business activities, particularly in shipping, marine and logistics.

De Silva is Chairman/Managing Director since 1992. Developing new ideas with commercial viability has been a strength in his career.

He is extensively involved in promoting large scale foreign investments as well as implementation of new services and infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. He is a member of both the Ceylon Association of Ships Agents Advisory Committee and the Advisory Council on Ports, Shipping and Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Ports and Shipping.

He has represented the Board of Directors of several governmental and non-governmental institutions in the shipping, aviation and telecom industries. He also served as a member of the Presidential Task Force to formulate shipping policy and was an advisor to the Shippers’ Academy Sri Lanka.

His accolades include a special award for the contribution made towards the shipping industry by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers, UK – Sri Lanka Branch, as well as the Global Commerce Excellence Award 2011.

The Commission now has the responsibility to spearhead Sri Lanka’s first Special Economic Zone, standing alongside Singapore and Dubai Special Economic Zones, to gain the attention of international investors to select Sri Lanka as their next investment destination.