EU Ambassador says Sri Lanka heading towards a favorable business environment
Ambassador of the European Union (EU) to Sri Lanka Tun Lai Margue has said that the Sri Lankan government’s 2018 Budget would lead to the creation of a more favourable business environment and several progressive outcomes would arise from such efforts.
The ambassador has made this observation at the EU-Sri Lanka dialogue at the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade.
The ambassador has also noted that the EU was studying Sri Lanka’s current budget since it reflected some of the country’s political and economic objectives, which met some of the recommendations of the World Bank (WB) and of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The creation of a favourable business environment includes devaluating the possibility of foreign investors owning land in Sri Lanka, as well as economic packages that would promote the development of small and medium enterprises, notably in the Northern Province.
“The new budget also encourages investment in new sectors such as the IT industry as well as the Agricultural sector.”
The Ambassador has noted that the EU felicitated the government of Sri Lanka in its efforts, particularly in the area of seeking to boost investments in the country.
Meanwhile, Development Strategies and International Trade Minister, Malik Samarawickrama who led the Sri Lankan delegation with other relevant officials in line Ministries has said that the 2018 budget of the government of Sri Lanka was the most outward orientated budget that the country had adopted since the era of the late President J R Jayewardene.
One of its strength was the development of a very comprehensive Inland Revenue Act.
However, a vital area that needed to be addressed was improvement on the “Ease of Doing Business” since success in this area this would impact very positively on investment and trade.
The Minister has pointed out that the objective of the government was to make every industrialist an exporter. At the same time there is a commitment on the part of Sri Lanka to develop the Northern Province and many concessions have already be given to promote economic activity in the former conflict affected areas.
In the period 2005 – 2016, EU enterprises operating under BOI invested an estimated US$ 2.5 billion in Sri Lanka. The bulk sectors for investment were manufacturing (other than textile and apparel) US$ 557 million; textile and apparel manufacture (US$ 327 million); telecommunications (US$ 617 million): Airline services (US$ 325 million); and power generation (US$ 255 million).
The leading European Union countries in terms of FDI to Sri Lanka are the United Kingdom with 90 projects under BOI (of which 54 exporters), Germany (42 projects, 31 exporters), the Netherlands (29 projects, 14 exporters), Sweden (20 projects, 13 exporters) Italy (18 projects, 14 exporters, France (13 projects, 10 exporters) and Belgium (10 projects of which 6 exporters).
The EU ambassador’s statement reflects the sentiments of the EU towards Sri Lanka and its economy. The confidence expressed by the top EU official in Sri Lanka would result in more European business ventures exploring for business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. Therefore, it would be opportune for local businesses to venture into the EU business market in order to form joint ventures.
|Article Code :||VBS/AT/05122017/Z_5|