Business Times

SEC to rent three BOI floors; life back to normal at BOI

By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is to rent three floors of the Board of investment’s (BOI) four vacant floors at the World Trade Centre (WTC), according to BOI and SEC sources.
“The balance floor has been rented out early this month to Muthu Sivalingam, Deputy Minister Economic Development,” a BOI source told the Business Times.

The restructuring has now come to a stop at the 24th floor and the source said that relocation of the other departments at the country’s premier investment promotion agency will be completed shortly.
He said that in a changing backdrop it’s only natural to feel a sense of uncertainty. “None of this is aimed at forcing staff out from the BOI. There will not be any retrenchment.” A sector team (after they are enlisted with a sector) will possess the intricate knowledge in that particular sector, he said, explaining that the earlier structure of segmented, inefficiently organised investment promotion agency will be equipped to handle more sophisticated and upscale investors.

“We cannot process any applications as the new incentives for the prospective investors will be in effect from next month. These incentives will be the same as the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and will be gazetted by 1st, April,” he said. He said they will be on the lines of a 5-year tax holiday for a minimum of US$ 3 million.

He said that 16 applications are currently being processed for this year and each is worth US$ 3 million. “There are applications to start hospitals, infrastructure projects, etc,” he added. He said that Dr. P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury under whom the BOI’s jurisdiction is when he attended the BOI board meeting early this week was agitated due to the negative publicity that BOI’s restructuring had received during the past month.

Dr Jayasundere had wanted the 9-floors of BOI at the WTC to be reduced to five. “Also the WTC floors were purchased outright during the former chairman’s tenure and Dr Jayasundera has instructed the BOI to rent the balance four floors,” the BOI source noted. He said that the BOI spends Rs 20 million annually to maintain each floor.

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