Wednesday, May 31, 2023

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Sri Lanka to regain Japanese investments for innovative projects

In the wake of Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s attempts to restart Japan-funded projects including the light rail transit project cancelled by the previous administration, the kingdom of the rising sun is again keen to explore investment opportunities in the pearl of the Indian ocean.

A group of Japanese investors now in Sri Lanka conveyed interest in investing in diverse sectors such as medical equipment manufacturing, pharmaceutical, travel and tourism industry especially cultural tourism, the hotel industry, property development and real estate

They expressed these views when they held a discussion with Investment Promotion State Minister Dilum Amunugama and Board of Investment top officials in Colombo recently.

Colombo light rail transit (LRT) project is the first of its kind to be developed in Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. Construction of the first phase of the project is estimated to cost US$2.2 billion,

Chinese firm Seoyoung Engineering undertook the feasibility study for the project estimated to cost $6 billon and was approved by the government in October 2018, scheduled to start in 2020 and commercial operations were expected to start in 2025.

Officially launched in July 2019, the project will be implemented by the Government of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development (MMWD) under a public-private partnership.

Construction of the first phase of the project is estimated to cost $2.2 bn and is scheduled to start in 2020. Commercial operations are expected to start in 2025.

The investors had a productive discussion with Investment Promotion State Minister Dilum Amunugama, BOI Director General Renuka M Weerakone and other officials on key investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.

Speaking at the meeting, the State Minister opined “Sri Lanka has come a long way in making reforms and progress since the economic crisis.

The approved IMF program will definitely help enhance investor confidence, creating a conducive ecosystem to do business, thereby attracting much-needed FDIs to the country,”

Also, the State Minister explained to the delegates about the special investment policy, which is in progress to ease doing business where the BOI would be empowered to further facilitate investors. Further, discussions are underway to grant tax benefits to investors in future.

Moreover, he invited the investors to invest in five new industrial and privately managed zones to be established in the Northern Province, the Trincomalee district and other selected areas.

Meanwhile, DG Renuka M Weerakone answering the queries of delegates, stated “Investor Facilitation Center (IFC) will be a single window to conduct businesses where each investor will get an individual official to look into matters until the investor commences operation in the country,”

“Sri Lanka is making great progress as a country and has strong economic sectors and companies that are strongly looking forward to establishing investment partnerships with countries like Japan.

In this context, the BOI is looking forward to increasing and developing cooperation with Japan through novel investment projects,” she added.

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