Monday, October 19, 2009

Sri Lanka may get US$ 700mn FDI in 2009: official

Sri Lanka is in line to receive 600 to 700 million US dollars in foreign direct investment in 2009 and fresh applications are pouring in after the end of a 30-year civil war, officials said.

In the first six months of the year, about 297 million US dollars had flowed into the country as foreign direct investment.

A war with Tamil Tiger separatists ended in May brightening prospects for the country.

"We expect 600 to 700 million US dollars of investment in 2009," Dhammika Perera chairman of the Board of Investment (BOI), the state investment promotion office, told reporters.

"Now we get so many inquiries that we have to deal with, that this week we were not able to go to an opening ceremony at a ceramic factory."

Investment promotion minister Anura Yapa said among the firms that made inquiries were the Indian arm of the US beverage firm Coca-Cola and Caterpillar, a US heavy machinery firm.

Perera said the BOI has made the process easy for foreign investors and had been ranked the best investment facilitation office in South Asia by a World Bank and International Finance Corporation survey.

The Global Investment Promotion Benchmarking 2009 had said Sri Lanka had improved its score by 29 points in 2008 and had an informative website. The BOI had scored 64 out of a possible 100 marks.

"We have had discussions with the World Bank officials to see how we can score even higher," Perera said.

"We had reduced the application to one page from 14. Earlier companies had to hire consultants to fill the form."

Perera said the quantum of foreign direct investment coming into the country had increased in recent years.

From 2006 to date, he said, 2.8 billion US dollars of FDI had come to the country, compared to 2.7 billion US dollars from the inception of the agency in 1978 to 2006.

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