A new one-stop shop named the Agency for Development will be set up following the introduction of new legislation in July, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said yesterday, addressing the French Employers Federation.
“For foreign investors we will be introducing a one-stop shop in the form of the Agency for Development, which will be led by both the government and the private sector working together. The necessary legislation for this agency will be introduced in parliament next month,” he said.
Samaraweera noted that the new agency would facilitate all investments and approvals by cutting through all the red tape.
The Board of Investment (BoI) or the Greater Colombo Economic Commission, as it was then known, was set up 38 years ago for this exact same purpose.
However, the BoI became known as ‘another stop shop’ along with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, which also used to operate a one-stop shop.
The country’s Finance Minister had said in the budget that the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and the BoI would be merged to create a new one-stop shop for investors.
Samaraweera said that foreigners should invest in Sri Lanka, as it is a competitive gateway to Asia, unlike Hong Kong or Singapore.
“It offers many of the benefits without the first-class prices. We also have very large green-field and brown-field expansion space. We have one of the most educated workforces in the emerging world, many who have experience working for multinationals across the world,” he said.
He added that the existing free trade agreements and the multitude of new agreements being considered and negotiated, will make Sri Lanka an attractive destination for investments.
“In the national unity government it has a grand coalition that realizes that foreign direct investment (FDI)-led exports are the only way of providing the employment and growth the Sri Lankan people have mandated us to deliver. Therefore, please do come and visit Sri Lanka and see the opportunities for yourselves,” he said.