Govt targets $ 2.1 bn FDI in 2018 - Malik | Daily News


Govt targets $ 2.1 bn FDI in 2018 - Malik

Measures to improve ‘ease of doing business’
Minister Malik Samarawickrama visiting a factory at the Biyagama Zone
Minister Malik Samarawickrama visiting a factory at the Biyagama Zone

Sri Lanka has set a target to export US$17.1 billion worth of goods and services in 2018, said Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade.

Speaking to investors, trade unions and employees during a BOI organized interactive meeting at the Biyagama Export Processing Zone (BEPZ) he said that while FDI had reached US$ 1.9 billion, the target for 2018 was to attack US$2.1 billion FDI.

He also stated that a export processing zone has already been developed by Germany at Kilinochchi. The Minister said the Government was keen on importing new technology and was taking steps to improve the ‘ease of doing business.’ He added that by the end of this year all the reforms would be in place.

The Minister also stated that the present Government’s development Plan was focused on attracting FDI and also boosting the private sector. The Minister also disclosed plans to set up three to four new zones at Mirijjawila, Millenniya, (with Thai collaboration), Bingiriya in Kurunegala and Mawathagama. Furthermore there would also be a possibility of a new zone in Weligama. He added that no new zones had been built since 2002.

Samarawickrama said that during the last three years 3,000 workers had been hired at the BEPZ despite concerns of a difficulty in finding workers. The Minister also added that the German Government will set up a new Technical Centre in Matara to train youth in technical areas, so that they may contribute by working in industry.

The BEPZ is a significant contributor to the national economy with an export value estimated at Rs 134 billion (US$849 million) and importing Rs 58 billion (US$368 million) worth of raw material. In 2017 25,661 workers were employed at the BEPZ.

Duminda Ariyasinghe, Director General of the BOI stated that a Screening committee had been established to look at every issue and provide a solution. “Within 24 hours a solution is brought to issues. The BOI is now an evolving organization. We are also focusing on reinvestments and had a very successful visit to Switzerland and Italy to look at reinvestment by enterprises”

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