The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

BOI red tape to be removed to facilitate investments


The government is strengthening the institutional set up at the Board of Investment (BOI) removing red tape, establishing an investor-friendly institutional framework and improving coordination with other state agencies, official sources said.� According to a top BOI official, investor relations teams, special units for large projects and an integrated investor solution centre have been set up at the BOI to guide investors through the business start-up process.

But several foreign investors have complained of being sent from pillar to post when seeking BOI assistance to launch mega projects in the island. The BOI is still in a transition without a Chief Executive Officer proposed as far back as 2010 and then included in the November 2011 budget, he said. The BOI official pointed out that the role of the BOI has become less important as its functions and responsibilities have been taken over by certain ministries. The Treasury Secretary who is also the Secretary to the Economic Development Ministry is separately overseeing project investment approvals and that is one of the reasons for the slow progress of the BOI in facilitating new investments.

However Economic Development Ministry officials cite many flaws in the BOI saying the institution has not transformed to a dynamic unit to cater to top post-war investment interest. “The officials are staid and not pro-active and that’s why tourism investment approvals had to be moved to the one-stop shop initiative at Sri Lanka Tourism to speed up the process,” one Ministry said.
Acting BOI Chairman and Director General, M.M.C. Ferdinando told the Business Times that he has taken measures to attract mega investment, since his appointment in mid July last year.

Necessary infrastructure to attract such investments had to be built and the BOI initiated several massive projects with billions of dollars of investment, he said.� Accordingly, the levels of inflows are expected to increase significantly in areas such as hotel and tourism, infrastructure development, IT/BPO services, renewable energy and pharmaceutical industry, he revealed.

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