The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Economic Development Ministry wants BOI to perform


The Economic Development Ministry has directed the Board of Investment (BOI) to submit a detailed breakdown of the proposed US$ 2 billion foreign investment projects that are to be realised this year.

The Ministry has also issued a directive to the agency to re-invigorate its promotional activities to attract tourism, trade and investment from South Asia, Middle East, East Asia, Russia and the Far East in addition to its traditional markets in Western Europe and USA. It is currently promoting investments in hotels and tourism, heavy industry, machinery and transport sectors aimed at setting up industrial ventures rich in asset value for the country, acting Chairman and Director General M.M.C.  Ferdinando told the Business Times.
The agency was looking at projects that will open many export/import markets in the Asian, African, Australian and American continents, and to meet the growing demands of the Indian market, he said. Mr. Ferdinando noted that the BOI has so far attracted Foreign Direct Investment of over US$500 million in approved projects.

He said that the difficulty in getting land for tourism and heavy industry projects has become a major obstacle to attract foreign investments.  FDIs and private investors are not looking for ad hoc tax concessions. “The biggest constraint is the availability of land and the associated procedure we follow to alienate land. Therefore all these procedures are being re-examined”, he disclosed.

However, according to other informed sources, the BOI performance has been greatly hindered due to policy inconsistency and interference of the Treasury. The Treasury Secretary is turning down project proposals of foreign investors citing lack of funds in an exercise which oversteps the Treasury’s mandate, the sources added.

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