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WB Washington investment team in town


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  • ‘Looking for an Exim Bank for exporters’ - Dr. Maraikkar
  •  ‘Export-led FDI is the key’- EchandiBoats, ICT/BPM, 
  • spices showing promise - Dr. Maraikkar

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A top investment assessment delegation from the World Bank’s Washington offices is now in town. 

Boats, ICT and spices are among the Lankan exports that show future promise and the World Bank is open to evaluate the possibility of supporting an Exim Bank for Sri Lanka’s export push. 

“As the apex body of Sri Lankan exports, the Exports Development Board (EDB) works with and across all stakeholders to develop exports. Our exporters will benefit greatly from an Exim Bank,” stressed EDB Executive Director Dr. Yousuf Maraikkar on 10 July in Colombo.

Dr. Maraikkar was addressing the visiting World Bank team from Washington led by Roberto Echandi, Global Investment Policy Lead - Investment Climate Unit of the World Bank Group’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, known for his interest in the field of investment collaboration with developing countries. Also joining the session was the World Bank’s Emanual Salinas, the Programme Leader - Growth and Competitiveness.

“We are trying to find about export oriented investment prospects in Sri Lanka, given the fact that the future of Sri Lanka lies in exports,” said Echandi. 

“This is the main vehicle through which many countries not only increased their exports but even transformed themselves along with value additions to exports and the strengthening of value chains. Therefore this is not only about export-focused FDI but how the investment policy helps exports,” he added.

“We are here at the request of the Sri Lankan Government, looking into opportunities to enhance competitiveness of the Lankan private sector, in particular there is a realisation that sources of Lankan growth in the past will not drive growth in the future,” said Programme Leader Salinas.

“When it comes to export terms, we are here to find how the investment policy helps exports, in that how FDIs are helping Sri Lanka to connect to global value chains. Clearly Sri Lanka has a lot of potential to link with global investors and enhance exports. This mission will then give recommendations on relevant regulations, processes and institutions thereafter since we are responding to the objective of the Government to enhance private sector-led growth and create one million more jobs in Sri Lanka and identifying individual elements such as the investment climate, attracting FDIs, access to finance, export-oriented services and trade facilitation to make it easy for local exporters to access global markets. We are happy to partner with the Government. 

“We have received the request to provide assistance to develop the strategy for export promotion and related policies, and this is an area of high importance. We are very much hoping to collaborate in that regard.”

Responding to the visiting World Bank team, Dr. Maraikkar said: “Sri Lankan apparel, tea, cinnamon and pepper are some of the globally well-known products. Apart from surging apparel exports, our ICT/BPM, boat and ships, rubber products, food and spices exports have shown promising growth. We welcome the World Bank’s support in this regard.”

Responding to Dr. Maraikkar, Colombo WB Programme Leader Salinas said: “An Exim Bank will be a new financial institution with the support of the Government. It needs to be based on the existing gaps in the finance scenario. We are not very clear what the gap is right now. If we were to look into this, identifying the gap would be a starting point. If that gap exists and cannot be covered by existing financial institutions, then we need to identify as to the rationale for this new institution. If the need is identified clearly, it would be an area the World Bank would be happy to look into with inputs from the authorities.”

The visiting World Bank team is also due to visit other top Lankan ministries and government agencies in the investment and export support segments.

 


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