Bright future for this country
As the conflict in this country has finally come to an end after 26
years, there is considerable optimism that Sri Lanka will experience
economic growth. This is due to the considerable resilience of the Sri
Lankan economy and a growth in investor confidence on the part of the
Notwithstanding the global economic crisis, the BoI is confident that
better times lay ahead. We owe this optimism to the comparatively good
performance of the country in several key areas relating to investment.
For example the number of companies starting operations have been
relatively consistent. In 2008, altogether 81 enterprises that operate
under the BoI regime, commenced operations. Hence enterprises continued
to start operations despite the crisis.
We have also been able to reach the highest ever level of FDI in the
history of the BoI. In 2008 Sri Lanka posted US$ 885 million compared to
US$ 734 million in 2007. Sri Lanka can therefore realistically aim for
the US$ 1 billion target that has been set for FDI in 2009.
The BoI's main contribution to the national economy lies in export.
In 2008 BoI enterprises exported US$ 5.3 billion worth of goods and
services. This represents 65% of all Sri Lanka's exports.
In employment terms, BoI enterprises hire over 450,000 workers. These
are some of the most skilled jobs in the local industry.
There are also some positive factors about Sri Lanka. The FDI
Magazine listed Sri Lanka as the 7th most business friendly city in Asia
out of a sample of 200 cities. In the same survey, Colombo was also
listed the 7th most cost-effective city out of 200. Sri Lanka is also
placed 29th in the world for ease in "starting a business" in the World
Bank's Doing Business Index.
Given these factors the prospects for Sri Lanka are likely to be
good. I see the liberation of the North and the East playing an
important part in our future strategy for investment, notably in the
tourism, agro industries and manufacturing sectors.
There is also a strong likelihood that infrastructure development
will become a leading sector as far as investment is concerned.
In the long-term however the transformation of Sri Lanka as a
logistics and business hub must be our objective. The end of the war
will mean a bright future for this country and Sri Lanka will be able to
attain her true potential.