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Central Facilitation Agency to make Strategic Projects Act redundant

6 March 2015 03:59 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
The Board of Investment’s (BOI) new one-stopshop would make last year ’s Strategic Projects Development Act irrelevant and create an investor-friendly environment, according to Deputy Minister of Investments Promotions Eran Wickramaratne.


“I think it has been rightly questioned ‘what actually is strategic?’ We are going to reverse it. We are going to have a Central Facilitation Agency to work at that; of bringing the agencies together around one table to smoothen it for investors.”

He said that the BOI has lost its relevance as a onestop-shop in the past few years due to the implementation of the Act; which had enabled the influx of casino projects which have been cancelled following the elections.

However, Wickramaratne said that the proposals of casino projects and other foreign direct investments (FDIs) which have not gone ahead following the taking of office of the new regime would be engaged to go ahead with their investments without the inclusion of facets that would damage society.
“About US$6-7 billion investments are in the pipeline. Let’s look at that, let’s see what the problems are. Call the investors in and basically let’s try to unblock.”

He said that the investment gap of Sri Lanka is around 7 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, which can only be met through foreign direct investments (FDIs). He added that the private sector can only become the engine of growth if the country attracted funds of such nature.

Wickremaratne compared Sri Lanka’s FDIs to Vietnam’s. At the start of the new millennium, Vietnam and Sri Lanka had averaged the same level of FDIs.
However, Sri Lanka has only averaged US$1 billion in recent years, compared to Vietnam’s US$10 billion.He also stressed upon Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe’s stance of investing in soft infrastructure instead of hard infrastructure, owing to the small land area and service-oriented nature of the country’s economy.
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