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Sunday, 3 January 2010

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Overwhelming response for Jaffna Investment Forum

There has been an overwhelming response for the first major post-war Investment Forum which will be held on January 6 and 7 at the Jaffna Public Library with the event being oversubscribed by over 40 percent.

In addition to local and international investors, officials of the Government, Sri Lanka Tourism, Board of Investment, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, National Chamber of Exporters, American Chamber of Commerce, European Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka, Employers' Federation, Young Entrepreneurs Sri Lanka, International Alert, UNDP and IOM will also attend this event.

The organiser of the event, Business for Peace Alliance (BPA) said four Indian and Australian companies, members of the diaspora and local investors will be participating with the intension of investing in the Northern and Eastern regions. The response was tremendous and the BPA had to turn away several investors due to logistics problems.

"The BizPAct Investment Forum will focus on responsible economic development opportunities for small and medium enterprises. It provides a unique platform, linking the business community based in Colombo, regional SMEs, international investors, and Sri Lankan investors domiciled overseas, together with the business community in the North and East," said President of BPA, Suresh De Mel.

The two-day program includes an interactive forum, a series of field visits to project locations, opportunities to link up with the business leaders in the North and the East and exchange samples of products.

Besides matching investors and deserving entrepreneurs from the regions, the forum will provide prospective investors an opportunity for dialogue with high-level Government officials on policy issues relating to investment in the North and the East.

"Local and foreign investors are demonstrating increasing confidence and enthusiasm in investing in the North and the East of Sri Lanka, taking advantage of the post-war opportunities for rebuilding the nation and the response clearly underlines the confidence and faith investors have in the present government despite an election being round the corner," an official of the Yalpanam Chamber said.

The Jaffna entrepreneurs will also display samples of their products.

The program in Jaffna will conclude with a grand cultural show featuring traditional music and dances on the 7th at the Weerasingham Hall featuring musicians and dancers from the North and South.

Meanwhile, a convention and exhibition centre will be built in Jaffna to fill the void of a venue for international events in the future. This would also help attract MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism to the region.

With the assistance of G. A. Jaffna, K. Ganesh, tourism authorities have identified a unique location in Araly, Jaffna for the proposed convention centre.

"The location is ideal and unique. It is overlooking the lagoon, about 10 kilometers from the Jaffna city and there is already a roadway. We are upbeat with this site and the support extended by all stakeholders in Jaffna and we will immediately get on with the procedures required to work on this proposal," said General Manager, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB), Vipula Wanigasekera.

Not having the necessary infrastructure was the key issue which hindered the development of the region. The SLCB will now accelerate its product development efforts to spread the MICE business throughout the country.

MICE visitors are high spenders and such business generate additional employment and repeat holiday visits, hence the heavy focus of countries such as Singapore and Malaysia on MICE tourism, he said.

 

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