Sri Lanka BOI Celebrated 40 years of investments
Board of Investment Sri Lanka, is the central facilitation point for all investors in Sri Lanka. The BOI was established in 1978 as the investment promotion arm of the government of Sri Lanka to attract both foreign and domestic investments into country with the objective to raising capital and creating more employment opportunities. The origins of the BOI can be traced to Greater Colombo Economic Commission (GCEC) 1978, which was set up to develop the Colombo outskirts.
To celebrate the landmark achievement of stepping into the 40th year of investments, a ceremony was held at the Katunayake Export Processing Zone on 15th of September attended by key dignitaries including the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka as well as Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrama. The event was hosted by the BOI chairman Dumindra Ratnayake and Director General Duminda Ariyasinghe and managed to attract some of the top players in the investment community.
The event which commenced with unveiling a statue of the late president J.R Jayawardena and opening of the exhibition centre was also the backdrop to 40 companies being awarded “Outstanding BOI Enterprises”. The awards were presented by the President and the Prime minister and the companies were chosen based on investment value, employment generation and length of operation in Sri Lanka. Also, recognition was granted to both BOI employees and staff by the Hon. Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade along with BOI Chairman, Dumindra Ratnayake and Director General, Duminda Ariyasinghe.
The Prime Minister spoke at length regarding the establishing of the BOI and noted, ““At the time, our biggest challenge was finding jobs. The country had just faced an uprising and we understood that government institutions were insufficient to create the jobs that youth so desperately wanted. That is why we decided to establish investment zones,”. He also added that, “Now we have an even bigger opportunity than we did in 1977. Now we have a chance to regain all that lost opportunity. This is why we formed a coalition Government; and we must support President Sirisena so that together we can implement the economic plan we have drafted for the next three years.”
He further made remarks regarding the Nine new economic zones that are being developed in the country as part of the government efforts to spread development to the provinces. He also spoke at length regarding the proposed investment corridor from Kandy to Wellawaya as well as other zones up to Paranthan.
Since the establishing of BOI in 1978, the BOI has made a significant contribution towards the development of the Sri Lankan economy. As per BOI sources, there exists more than 1,700 commercial projects which employ up to half a million persons in Sri Lanka. Today, over 70% of the country’s total export earnings and 85% of the national industrial export earnings are provided by companies operated under the BOI.
The recent focus towards attracting more foreign investment to Sri Lanka has made BOI a key player in the economy of Sri Lanka. Especially with an outlook towards growing Sri Lanka’s exports, efforts are underway to set up industrial zones to produce new goods for exports. BOI will also take the reins in diversifying the Sri Lankan export presence and has introduced novel business models. First such instance was showcased in the signing of an Agreement of Expressing of Interest to develop a new export processing zone in Milleniya in the Kalutara District. This was a novel model as the investor is solely responsible for building and then also attracting investors as well.
BOI also remains a central cog of the Free Trade agreements Sri Lanka is working on in an effort to expand the Sri Lankan market share. According to the Chairman of the BOI, “The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka is committed to be an active partner in the country’s economy and play its role as the engine of growth”. It can also be expected that BOI will look towards the knowledge industry as one of the industries with the most potential to grow in the coming years.
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