Categorized | Banking & Finance

State Minister/Finance Eran Wickramaratne lays red carpet for investors

Posted on 02 June 2017 by admin

 


 01

  • Follows Mangala in wooing private sector 
  • Ranawaka calls on foreign investors to support Megapolis Project
  • Ravi K assures signed and sealed projects have State protection

 By Charumini de Silva

Newly sworn-in State Finance Minister Eran Wickremaratne on Wednesday wooed existing and potential foreign and local investors, inviting them to benefit from new business opportunities in Sri Lanka by banking on sound macroeconomics, fiscal management and a strategic geographical location.

Wickremaratne appeared to be on the same page as Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who during the inauguration pledged to pursue trade agreements with a commitment to Sri Lankan interests and pledged to work with industry stakeholders. 

Wickramaratne closely mirrored this message at the packed ‘Sri Lanka Investment & Business Conclave 2017: Growth through Partnerships’, organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) in Colombo.

“We are doing things to basically liberalise the economy, take it forward with more investor friendly policies,” he added.

In terms of sectors, he said tourism, education, manufacturing, BPO/KPO and logistics had a tremendous investment scope while noting that agriculture and fisheries were underinvested areas.

Noting that Sri Lanka has 12 export processing zones (EPZ) across the island, Wickremaratne noted the way forward was to create more zones  under a public-private partnership basis which not only allows foreign investors manufacturing opportunities but also allows them to partner in the zone as well.

He said Colombo will be one of the most liveable cities in South Asia which is cleaner, orderly and comfortable where lifestyles can be enjoyed. “Relocation, head offices, regional offices — I think in Sri Lanka there is a wonderful opportunity.”

The Minister also said that leading economies like China and India have recognised the strategic location of Sri Lanka to be a great logistics hub in this part of the world, whether it is in the air or sea.

Furthermore, he stated that if foreign investors were planning to expand into knowledge-based areas there were sufficient professionals such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants in Sri Lanka as the country boasts of the most literate workforce in the region.

Commenting on the booming tourism sector, Wickremaratne said there is tremendous potential to develop ancillary services. “Tourism is not just hotels but recreation, theme parks and ancillary services.  There is a lot of scope there and Sri Lanka is open for it.”

While the Government aims to be the most competitive economy in the South Asian region, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka emphasised the urgency to boost the country’s economy with proper investments in physical, social and economic infrastructure.

In this context, he said the strategic policy framework of the Government would primarily revolve around key elements of strengthening governance, equitable economic growth and infrastructure development and improving competitiveness.

 “Foreign investment is an important element in Sri Lanka’s economic growth. A liberal and reformist investment climate, fast-growing economy, fast implementation of infrastructure network, global and local political recognition, strategic location and a transparent system of procurement are the positive factors which suggest that the investor community will consider Sri Lanka for investment,” Ranawaka added.

He called on foreign investors to support Colombo’s Megapolis Project and to be a part of the development process of the country.

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake assured that once the investment projects were signed and sealed they would not be taken away despite governmental changes.

“One thing we will guarantee it is that this is rock solid. What is given will be never be taken. That is the level of consistency, coherency we can give to foreign investors,” he added.

Karunanayake said the new foreign policy is basically commercial diplomacy that is brought in to ensure Sri Lanka pushes its exports from the current $ 11 billion to $ 20 billion with product and market diversification.

“I am sure with the motivation that we put into our local and foreign investors, we will be able to see a much more robust approach before too long,” he stressed.

 

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