From Left: UAE Ambassador Abdul Hamid Abdul Fattah Kazim Al Mulla, SAIF Zone Business Development Manager Thomas Joseph SAIF Zone & Hamriya Free Zone Director Saud Almazrouei, BoI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya and BoI Acting Executive Director (Special Projects) Vidharshan Fernando
Pic by Waruna Wanniarachchi
By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
Officials of the Sharjah Airport International Free (SAIF) Zone in Dubai, recently visited Sri Lanka as a part of its international roadshows, in order to woo Sri Lankan investors to the mega industrial hub.
“I hope that you expand into the Middle East region through this trade zone,” SAIF Zone & Hamriya Free Zone Director Saud Almazrouei told the roadshow attendees at the Taj Samudra yesterday.
The SAIF Zone recently embarked on a 3-million square meter expansion plan to bring the total area of the zone to 16 million square meters.
The free trade zone features over 7,000 companies from over 150 countries engaging in a wide array of industries including fast moving consumer goods, defence, food and beverage, and electronics.
“Any investor can start a company with 100 percent shareholding, with 100 percent repatriation of capital and profits. There is no personal or corporate taxes levied, and you can have 100 percent of your workforce from Sri Lanka,” SAIF Zone Business Development Manager Thomas Joseph said. He added that necessary licences and access to infrastructure will be provided for investors within 24 hours of an investment.
Joseph went on to say that the SAIF Zone has the facilities to provide accommodation, healthcare, food and beverage, retail and entertainment facilities for a large number of staff.
The Sri Lankan private sector representatives were mainly concerned with getting free market research data from the SAIF Zone management.
“I suggest that you start with a small office and expand from that,” Almazrouei said.
However, he added that the SAIF Zone management will attempt to connect the potential investors with those who may be able to provide such services, while also providing some basic market data for them. The road show was organized in collaboration with the Board of Investment (BoI), the Federation Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka and Eagle Eye International.