Investments could end up at a record high t h i s y e a r , following the takeover of good governance a n d t r a n s p a r e n c y , F i n a n c e M i n i s t e r Ravi Karunanayake said recently. “(When) we look at investments coming into our country, it’s not a US $ 100 Chinese restaurant or massage parlour that’s coming into this country (but) investments of US $ 500-600 million, US $ 2-3 billion. These are the investments that are coming in,” he said.
Sri Lanka’s peers such as Vietnam and Cambodia are getting US $ 10-15 billion in annual foreign direct investments (FDIs). In 2014, Sri Lanka had hit its record of US $ 1.53 billion in FDIs, which moderated to US $ 969 million in 2015 over political instabilities. China will remain the largest foreign investor for the foreseeable future, recently being awarded large inf ras t ructure projects in several parts of the country, as well as the Port City project in the Galle Face promenade.
Karunanayake said that when investments come in, they should be completely transparent with deadlines attached to each project. Karunanayake said that government investments had also ramped up significantly. “You might wonder why there are no major projects that are off the ground. But you are mistaken, as 83 projects have been put to place; there is no noise made, but the impacts will be seen in the next couple of months,” he said. He added that the track record of these projects will give an idea of the national policies and vision the new government has. Karunanayake also noted that Present Maithripala Sirisena’s recent success at the G7 summit will also attract investors to Sri Lanka. He promised consistency in policies to boost investor confidence. “It is not tax policies that are wanted; it is not tax breaks that are wanted. It is consistency and quality of government that are wanted. More coherent in nature, where policy changes are far less and what is being done will be there for the next couple of decades,” he said.