Indian CEOs to promote trade and investments via ‘Shine Sri Lanka’
The Morning: The Indian CEO Forum-Sri Lanka (ICF) called on Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Prime Minister’s Office last week and stated that they have launched “Shine Lanka” platform to promote trade and investments as well as tourism, which has “huge potential”.
The Prime Minister stressed the need for further growth in bilateral trade and increased Indian investments in new areas, where Indian technological know-how could be introduced. He thanked the Indian companies for their significant input and support to the Sri Lankan economy by way of bringing substantial investments into the country, export earnings, employment generation, and contribution of treasury through direct and indirect taxes.
The CEO team, led by ICF President T.S. Prakash stated that the member companies represent diverse industries from automobile, banking, cement, and FMCG, to fuel, glass, hospitality, infrastructure, logistics, packaging, paint, and pharmaceuticals.
The Prime Minister briefed the CEOs present about the steps taken by the Government to solve the unprecedented economic crisis faced by the country. Airtel CEO Ashish Nanda said his company has access to over 65% Indian households through mobile telephones and Sri Lanka could promote tourism in the vast Indian market using IT.
The Indian CEOs expressed appreciation over the initial successes made by Sri Lanka in its plans to recover from the economic crisis and emphasised the need to sustain the efforts. They also called for relaxation of some outdated regulations to enhance growth of trade and attract investments.
Prakash said the Indian companies make a valuable contribution to the economy by providing gainful employment to thousands, providing best-in-class management, technical skills, and contributing substantiality to Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange earnings despite the current economic challenges.
He said the objective of ICF is to promote economic growth in Sri Lanka through Indian investment, safeguard and strengthen existing economic co-operation, foster new economic ties between India and Sri Lanka, and provide an open forum for business leaders of Indian origin employed with Indian multinationals and Sri Lankan business organisations in Sri Lanka.
The delegation included ICF Past President Umesh Gautam (Lanka Ashok Leyland PLC), and Vice President Kishore Reddy (Platinum Realty), as well as CEOs Manoj Gupta (Lanka IOC), Ashish Chandra (Bharti Airtel), Harikrishnan Sundaram (Colombo West International Terminal), Girish Manjeswar (UltraTech Cement), and Anurag Sharma (Reckitt). Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayake also attended the meeting.
Sri Lanka and India are engaged in further strengthening of bilateral and trade ties between the two countries through expanded cooperation in several key economic areas. It is in such a backdrop that Indian CEOs have expressed willingness to promote opportunities in Sri Lanka among the Indians. Sri Lanka and India already enjoy a functional free trade agreement (FTA) that is tipped to be further expanded. The geographical positioning of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean in close proximity to India has helped the two countries in business, trade and tourism. Sri Lanka is also looking at becoming an emerging business destination in the South Asian region supported by the many trade agreements as well as trade concessions enjoyed by the country. Given the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka Indian businesses/investors could explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. Many Indian businesses that have entered Sri Lanka have shown a steady growth and profits. Indian businesses could also look at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses to expand operations.
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