Dammika keeps to his pledge at BOI
Just one month into his job as Director General of the Board of Investment (BOI), Dammika Perera says he kept his pledge of clearing 550 pending approvals from companies, and his next challenge is to revive 120 decrepit state run enterprises within three months. “I am in talks with Dr. Amunugama, Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion to see how best we can restart state run corporations within three months,” he told The Sunday Times FT on the sidelines of the press conference held to grant 50 letters of approvals to companies.
Dr. Amunugama confirmed to The Sunday Times FT that he is looking at converting the old and eroded state run enterprises into efficient and predictive organisations through public-private partnerships (PPPs) within a very short time.
He said that the Hingurana Sugar Factory is one such PPP which the government entered into recently with the Browns Group.
“The state now owns 51 percent of the factory while Browns owns 49 percent,” he said, adding that the management was granted to Browns.
Senior BOI officials told The Sunday Times FT the role of the BOI in ‘facilitating’ PPPs would be to find potential companies for investing in stake corporations. “This will come as an investment through the BOI” a senior BOI official said.
“Today 120 such government investments are shut down and the employees are getting a free ride, because the government pays their salaries at the end of the month,” Dr. Amunugama said. Dr. Amunugama said that the BOI will concentrate on thrust areas to channel investment such as IT, Agro, gems and jewellery and pharmaceutical sectors.
“We want to use Sri Lanka’s hub status for many industries. We are looking at making Sri Lanka the hub for the growing metal industry and we want to be the major healthcare centre for the Middle Eastern market. We also want to become a regional hub for education,” he added.
Dr. Amunugama also said that he is looking forward to removing all unnecessary approval blocks that prevent the growth of the gems and jewellery sector.
“It is due to unnecessary and corrupt intervention that we have lost this industry to Thailand, where it is now worth a billion dollars,” he said.