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SL will not meet 2019 FDI target: Malik


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  • Tells Parliament FDI target of about $3 b unlikely 
  • Places blame on Easter Sunday attacks and anti-Muslim violence 
  • But optimistic exports will continue to perform well, thanks exporters for effort 
  • Assures key FDI projects will continue, cement and refinery plants in H’tota to kick off soon 
  • $1 b steel manufacturing plant in Trinco to go before Cabinet next week  

     

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

The Government’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) target of about $3 billion for 2019 will not be met, Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama told Parliament yesterday, as investor

Malik Samarawickrama

confidence took a hit after the Easter Sunday attacks and the subsequent anti- Muslim violence. He was however optimistic that exports would continue to perform well.   

The Minister, moving an order under the Strategic Development Projects Act, extending the period granted for Waterfront Properties Ltd. to finish construction and launch commercial operations from 60 months to 92 months, nonetheless said the export sector had been resilient and continued to perform well. At the start of the year, the Government expected to attract about $3 billion FDI for this year. 

Commending the efforts of the hardworking exporters and the entrepreneurs, the Minister said: “As we are aware, the terrorist activities and mob violence will adversely affect the economy. Especially in the tourism sector. I am pleased to inform that the Government is in the process of implementing a relief program. As far as the exports are concerned, we are confident that we can achieve the targets set for 2019. This is mainly due to the various programs we have undertaken, such as the National Exports Strategy, the 2000 Exporters Program, and the Enterprise Sri Lanka program. But most of all, we will achieve these targets due to the untiring effort of our exporters and entrepreneurs. I thank them all for their great efforts.”

According to Samarawickrama, a Cabinet Paper will be moved seeking approval for a steel manufacturing and export plant in Trincomalee. “As far as the investments are concerned, we will not be able to achieve the targets set. Both the local and foreign investors are shaken from what has taken place in April and May in Sri Lanka. But the security forces have taken control of the situation, and during the next few months, the terrorist factor will be completely eliminated. As far as the new projects are concerned about the cement and refinery plants in Hambantota, the investors are moving on to implement them. A Cabinet Paper will be submitted next week to set up a $ 1 billion steel manufacturing export plant in Trincomalee,” he added.

Waterfront Properties Ltd., which received House approval for the 92 months extension, is a mixed development project the Board of Investment has identified and channelled through the Strategic Development Projects Act. Located on Glennie Street in Colombo 02, the project will be investing $650 million during the first phase, and $ 100 million in the second phase.

“This project has commenced and the work was conducted, where $ 340 million already been invested in the project. Initially, a period of 60 months was given from the date of the principal agreement, 11 July 2013, for this company to commence commercial operations. However, although the construction has commenced and the project has successfully completed the piling work, the basement work, approximately 50% of the concrete work, there have been some delays. Based on the rock and soil conditions of the site, the excavation was delayed, due to heavy rainfall in 2014 and 2015. There have been delays during the excavation of the basement, where due to seepage of the Beira Lake into the site several pits were flooded over eight months. They have requested an extension from 60 months to 92 months. Cabinet has approved my request on 31 July 2018 for an extension,” explained  Minister Samarawickrama.  


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