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Sunday, 28 September 2014

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Lanka to achieve US $ 1.5b FDI target

FDI inflow had exceeded $ 1 billion by September 15 and therefore, Sri Lanka will achieve this year's FDI target of US $ 1.5 billion, said Minister of Investment Promotion Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena at the signing of the agreement to launch Royal Asian Cruses (RAC) in Colombo last week.

RAC is a US $ 33 million investment with a target to expand over the next couple of years. The investor is a Sri Lankan expatriate Sivakumar Sinnarajah, Chairman and Managing Director of Royal Asian Cruise.

Minister Abeywardena said this investment is a milestone in the tourism industry because it opens new vistas for the expansion of the sector. It has been growing at a rapid pace after the end of terrorism in 2009 and during the first half of the year there has been a 26 percent growth in tourist arrivals.

"We finalised and signed the agreement within six weeks after Treasury approval because we have removed bottlenecks at the BOI and if approvals from other agencies are received without delay, the BOI can approve investments fast," the Minister said.

Sivakumar Sinnarajah said, “As a Sri Lankan I am proud to be back in my homeland and invest in a large scale project of this nature. It gives me pleasure in knowing that Sri Lanka is a safe country conducive for investment.

"This venture will have direct and indirect benefits on the economy, beginning from provisioning service to local business," he said.

"Having a cruise liner will be a pride to the country and from next year the first cruise vessel will be launched and will bring 800 tourists to Sri Lanka every week,” Sinnarajah said.

According to the expansion plan, additional cruise vessels will be added to the fleet to increase weekly passenger capacity to 2,000. The project will create around 350 direct employment opportunities.

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