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Overhaul in land, exchange control policies to lure investments

20 November 2015 07:56 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayke yesterday proposed a number of measures to improve the country’s investment climate.
The minister proposed to remove the tax imposed on the leasing of land to foreigners and also to consider the removal of restrictions on ownership on identified investments imposed through the Land (Restrictions on Alienation) Act. As Karunanayke pointed out, restrictions on foreign ownership of land has been an impediment for attracting investments to the country.
In another drastic measure, the minister proposed to repeal the present “archaic and draconian Exchange Controls Act” and introduce an investor-friendly Foreign Exchange Management Bill (FEMB).
According to Karunanayake, this would help attract foreign flows specially from the SAARC and the world at large.
He also said the Agency for Development which will replace the Board of Investments (BOI) during the latter’s restructuring phase, would ensure that applications for foreign investments are completed to commence business within 50 days. 
“This will certainly be a game changer in promoting investments,” 
Karunananayake stressed. 
Meanwhile, in order to promote foreign investment inflows, the income from dividends on investment made by non-citizens and foreign companies in listed shares through inward remittances will be exempted from income tax. 
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