Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment discussing four mega projects under Singapore Free Trade Agreement
Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment (BOI) is reportedly gearing to reap the benefits of the Free Trade Agreement with Singapore by initiating discussions on four mega projects.
According to the BOI, the projects with a total investment value of over US$ 16 billion in manufacturing mainly for exports are the first projects to realize since the Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA was implemented in May this year.
A local media report stated that the largest of these is an export-oriented oil refinery valued at US$ 14.8 billion in Hambantota while the second is a US$ 1 billion investment in a steel manufacturing plant in Trincomalee. The other two projects will both be in Hambantota – a US$ 200 million sugar refinery and a US$ 50 million flour mill, for both local and export markets.
These proposals are being evaluated and will be implemented as soon as land is identified, the BOI has informed the media.
Last week, Sri Lanka held an investment forum in Singapore, targeting Singaporean companies encouraged by the FTA.
The forum was attended by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrema, and officials of the BOI, Sri Lanka Customs and MODSIT.
The Singapore delegation was headed by Senior Minister S. Iswaran.
According to reports, presentations were also made by two recent Singapore entrants to Sri Lanka in the food and beverage sector who highlighted the strong investor facilitation now being offered by the BOI and the high living standards, including housing, healthcare and education facilities, which make it easy for job creating investors and their families to be based in Sri Lanka.
In the early years of Sri Lanka’s open economy, Singapore was one of the largest investors with marquee investments by companies such as Shin Kwan Group and Prima Group.
The Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA is expected to place Sri Lanka firmly on Singapore’s investment map. The discussions by the BOI with Singaporean firms on four mega projects is a positive sign on the growing inflow of foreign direct investments (FDIs) from Singapore. Given the strong links between the two countries and the recently signed FTA, other foreign businesses/investors could use this opportunity to set up base in Sri Lanka to engage in business ventures in both Sri Lanka and Singapore.
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