Sri Lanka to secure USD 900 mn investment this year
Sri Lanka has secured USD 770 million of investments for 2021 so far and out of this 400 million are Foreign Direct Investments. This number is expected to reach USD 900 million by the end of 2021, said Chairman Board of Investments Sanjaya Mohottala addressing a panel discussion hosted by the Association of Marketing Graduates Sri Lanka on Monday.
He said that approved BOI projects this year so far were USD 1.4 billion and this would rise up to USD 1.9 billion by end 2021 proving firstly Sri Lanka still sustains healthy investor appetite and also entrepreneurs rightly invest during adversities.One success story is HCL India which increased their investments and staff from a few hundred to 1,000 to during the pandemic in Sri Lanka.
Group CEO, Dialog Axiata Supun Weerasinghe said that their company too made several investments in Sri Lanka during the pandemic and always invested at the right time and this has been very productive. “Since our investments were very productive the parent company in Malaysia too don’t have second thoughts to oblige. We sponsored the Sri Lanka Cricket team when they were performing poorly and we are getting the due mileage since the team’s performance has improved.” Commenting on Bangladesh financial discipline he said that the country foreign reserves which were at USD 13 billion in 2016 increased to USD 16 billion in two years and today it is over the USD 40 billion mark.
Chairman Jetwing Hiran Cooray said that not only Sri Lanka Tourism but the country branding needs to mature and move up to the next level. “Firstly we have Ceylon Tea, Cinnamon, Spices and now ‘Ceylon’ Sarongs. However surprisingly there is also another branding starting from ‘Sri Lanka’ for tourism and several other sectors. When we go overseas some people genuinely ask if there are two countries: Ceylon or Sri Lanka!”
He also said that when it comes to Sri Lanka’s tourism promotion authorities are still looking at the number of ‘heads’ visiting Sri Lanka and not at increasing revenue. Colombo University, Senior Lecturer in Economics, Prof. Srimal Abeyratne said Sri Lanka is a very resilient nation and in the past too have overcome many natural and manmade disasters and would also come out a winner from the present crisis.
He however said that a long term economic plan should be in place similar to Vietnam where its export revenue was on par with Sri Lanka at USD 2 billion in 1990 and today while Sri Lanka’s export earnings are at $ 10 billion Vietnam earnings are over $280 billion.
Executive Director Aitken Spence Dr Rohan Fernando commenting on the fertilizer issue said that decision should never be forced upon by the government for the industries. “the fertiliser ban will result in an overall production drop of around 30% next year.”