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Recent political progress in Lanka has made strong pitch to attract FDIs: Cherie Blair


26 August 2015 02:31 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


By Chandeepa Wettasinghe

Cherie Blair, leading international barrister and wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair yesterday said the current political landscape in Sri Lanka will have a positive effect in attracting more foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the country.

“Recent political developments, such as President Sirisena’s election commitment to tackle corruption and protect human rights etc will have potentially far reaching and potentially great impacts in the level and diversity of foreign investments in Sri Lanka,” Cherie Blair said.

She was making the comments at a discussion titled ‘Human Rights in Business’ organized by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka.

“There’s a sense of new energy, new direction, and a huge desire for reconciliation and a new beginning in Sri Lanka. Alongside reconciliation, the international community is looking at your economic success,” she further added.

Blair said that ethical investors are now looking for long-term prospects which Sri Lanka should attempt to attract, a view shared by former Policy Planning and Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva.

“The 2008 global economic crash was caused by the short-term nature of investments. So investors are in for the longer term. Investors want sustainable investments instead of a lucrative business which gets rocked by human rights violations or corruption,” Blair said.

She added that the government has the responsibility in creating a level-playing field where unethical companies cannot undercut ethical ones.

Sri Lanka has become notorious for having crony businesses undercutting other local and foreign companies through the setting up of favorable laws and regulations by influencing the politicians. 

Meanwhile, Blair praised the new government’s high-end exports development strategy which is set to bring equitable growth.

“People (Westerners) are looking for quality, ethically sourced and environmentally friendly products. So Sri Lanka wanting to work on the quality and the high end products—not the top high end but the middle market-high end—will enable the workers to benefit,” she said.

The Blair family are in Sri Lanka for two weeks. They travelled across the country, and spent a considerable amount of time in the North assessing the attempts towards peaceful reconciliation.

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