The United States expressed concerns about consistency and transparency in government decision-making, and above all, a lack of predictability,which led to the recent drop in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung attended.
The US called upon the government to protect civic space and allow civil society organizations to operate freely. Economic reform needs to be intertwined with political reform in order to create a sustainable and prosperous economy for all of Sri Lanka’s people
Addressing 183rd Annual General Meeting he Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in Colombo recently she noted that Sri Lanka’s business environment and investment framework environment need improvements for the private sector to flourish.
To build peace and stability, Sri Lanka must protect democratic values such as the rule of law, respect for human rights for all, equal representation, and transparent government.
When these democratic values falter, the private sector, civil society, and the independent press must hold the government accountable for its leadership and stewardship of this country.
The right to peaceful protest must be upheld for all Sri Lankans and the culture of impunity must end. We call on the government to foster independent institutions that operate transparently and build public trust in the reconciliation process, to ensure all Sri Lankan’s have access to a fair justice system.
It is important to reduce red tape and make sure that there are no unreasonable obstacles to investors as they look for opportunities in Sri Lanka and bring in the foreign capital that the country desperately needs.
In 2020, U.S. foreign direct investment in Sri Lanka wasUS $13 million, bringing total active U.S. investment in the country at the time to $274 million.
She pointed out that there is room for improvement as only $17 million invested five years earlier in 2015 and US companies want a level playing field. A good regulatory framework. Trust that their arbitration and their contracts will be honored.
When you have that kind of strong investment climate, then companies will want to come. Making this a reality, however, will require difficult decisions on reforming unprofitable state-owned enterprises that often pose a barrier to entry to foreign direct investment, she claimed.
Sri Lanka must invest in its people. It is vital to have a workforce with gender parity, with women literally at the table and in leadership roles
Looking around this room, it’s clear we need more women in business and our work is not yet done. Women should enjoy equal access to funding for their small and medium-sized enterprises that operate in so many villages and towns across the island.
It is imperative that all Sri Lankans have access to quality public primary, secondary, and tertiary education, and training so that Sri Lanka retains and builds on the rightly earned reputation of having a highly educated, creative, and skilled workforce.