- Sees 88% rise in FDI so far this year over last year
- Says govt. committed to strengthening brand – Sri Lanka
From left: Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association Vice President Murali Prakash, Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka, event’s guest of honour Ranjith Page, Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association President Saddique Hussain and Vice President Sidath Kodikara
Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka this week said the government had strengthened the brand – Sri Lanka by establishing freedom, democracy and good governance and is seeing an upswing in the foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into the country.
“As a result, our international stakeholders have confidence in the country and a level playing field is ensured,” the minister said, addressing the annual general meeting of the Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association, in Colombo, on Tuesday. The minister, in his speech, said this year’s FDIs have grown by 88 percent over last year.
“It is likely that the full-year figure will cross a billion dollars. Targets have been set for FDI and outside the G2G and Hambantota investments. The BOI is targeting US $ 1.6 billion for next year and in excess of US $ 2 billion for 2019,” he said.
“Tourism is being revamped, a quick win if done right. The Tourism Strategy 2020 is being worked on and as I mentioned, it is going to be a US $ 7 billion target. The new Exchange Management Act has come in; the draconian old act has been abolished. The exporters will own their money and there will be a reduction on the controls on exports.
The Inland Revenue Act has been passed; there was a lot of interaction and we consulted with the private sector. The tax regime has been simplified; there is clarity and there will be consistency,” Ratnayake said, explaining the progress made by the current government.
“Now the Southern Highway is progressing. Initially we had trouble with funds paying for them but we have now managed to sort those out. We paid the contractors; these projects are being completed.”
“The Central Highway is on track and we are also considering the Ratnapura highways as well. So, there will be a good road network. The budget has had wide consultations and we will present one of the most progressive budgets in recent times,” he added.
“We are cognizant of the fact that the foundation or the bedrock of any society is the security of the people and the visitors. In survey after survey it is shown that tourists will select a destination first on the criteria of security and safety. We saw that during the war and now the war is over and we need to establish law and order solidly,” Ratnayaka explained.
The minister said the government was dedicated to make Sri Lanka a safe and secure place to visit and live.
“There is no place in paradise for drug lords and gangsters. The Police Department and I are working systematically to eradicate this menace from society. We will also focus on white collar and minor crimes,” he stressed.