Minister Bogollagama targets $ 1 billion FDI this year
Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Minister Rohitha
Minister for Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Rohitha
Bogollagama is confident of achieving the US $ 1 billion target set for
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) this year. He said the total value of
the traditional foreign investment in Sri Lanka up to 2006 had been US $
235 million. The investment was the same even in 1994 when he left the
BOI as chairman.
Following the vigourous effort by Minister Bogollagama under the
guidance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, foreign investment in Sri Lanka
has taken a new turn during the last nine months.
Minister Bogollagama said that the success of bringing foreign
investors to Sri Lanka during the last few months could be attributed to
focusing Sri Lanka in a very favourable light.
"Terrorism is confined to eight districts out of twenty-five in Sri
Lanka. The Government proved to the world that terrorism can be dealt
with. At present highly strategic centres in Sri Lanka namely,
Trincomalee and Sampur are under the full control of the Government.
During the last twelve years, Sri Lanka has not been able to brand
herself correctly to investor groups.
The previous administrators gave major importance to the Ceasefire
Agreement and the peace talks just to hang on to power . That is why the
FDI was blocked during that period from 1994", the minister said.
"Prima Ceylon Ltd. is the largest investment worth over US$ 200
million Prima, Mitsui Cement which is worth over US$ 70 million set up
their operations in Trincomalee. They were not affected by terrorism.
Those facts were not presented correctly to the investors and
consequently investors ignored Sri Lanka. Prospective investors in
India, UK, Malaysia, Singapore and Europe met the Investment Promotion
Minister and BOI officials during the preceding months.
The highly successful Sri Lanka investment round table conference
held in London brought leading Sri Lankan businessmen and their British
counterparts together to explore new and mutually beneficial avenues of
Twenty-five Sri Lankan companies who participated met 150 British
companies. Another area where Sri Lanka leveraged during the round table
conference was Sri Lanka's international links such as free trade
agreements with India and Pakistan and the GSP agreement with the
The immediate result was the approval of the Grange Hotels project at
Rathgama in the Galle district. This project will boost Sri Lanka's
tourism industry. Discussions were held with Marks and Spencers to set
up a logistics hub in Sri Lanka.
According to Minister Bogollagama FDI projects on infrastructure
development, urban development and production sectors have been
finalised and some of them have already commenced activities here.
The US$ 250 million Telecommunication expansion and development
project, US$ 300 million Norochcholai coal power project, Trincomalee
500 Megawatt NTPC plant project, Hambantota Petroleum refinery project
and 20 mini hydro power projects are some of them.
Under the urban development sector a number of projects have been
finished. A forty-two storeyed, US$ 70 million housing project at Dawson
Road by Keangnam Korea, the forty-nine storeyed housing project at Galle
Road by Jayapooriya of India and the US$ 250 million Havelock City
project are outstanding projects.
The FDI projects of leisure and recreation development and production
sectors are also being finalised.
The minister said that one way to beat terrorism is development and
that is why President Rajapaksa is keen on developing key areas in the
He said that they have identified Trincomalee as an area for major
developments where big time world players would be investing. "I have
already negotiated with a Singaporean oil dredging logistic providing
company to invest in Sri Lanka. This company is one of the largest in
the world", he said.
"We wish to convert Trincomalee to a mini Singapore as we have
identified that we could offer our services to India, China, Vietnam and
the Gulf countries from Sri Lanka.
During the last nine months the BOI signed 26 agreements of which 20
were for new projects and six supplementary agreements for expansion of
existing agreements. Rs. 14,666.32 million is from local investors and
Rs. 3053.58 million is funded through foreign investors, making a total
of Rs. 17,719.90 million. These projects will generate 2,183 jobs.
Minister Bogollagama left the island on October 14 for an investment
promotion mission to Singapore.
The minister will hold discussions with Lionel Lee, Managing Director
Ezra Holdings which built its first floating production storage and
offloading (FPSO) facility vessel. Converted from old oil tankers, FPSO
vessels are used to extract and store crude oil and natural gas from oil
fields that are deep in the ocean.