SL-S’pore Business Council delegation concludes Trade and Investment Promotion mission
Friday, 4 July 2014 01:21
A 15 member Sri Lankan business delegation led by the Sri Lanka-Singapore Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has met with representatives of over 70 Singapore companies in order to explore opportunities in the areas of trade, tourism and investment.
The delegation, who visited Singapore in mid-June, was led by Shamil Mendis, the President of the Sri Lanka – Singapore Business Council, who is also the Chairman/Managing Director of Spear Global Holdings Ltd.
The Sri Lankan delegation comprised Janaka Gunasekera, Senior Director – Agri Input, A. Baur & Co. Ltd., Muralee Prakash, Chairman, Ashnip Global Holdings Ltd., Thusitha Gunasena, General Manager- Alankara SKR Ltd., Prajeeth Balasubramaniam, Managing Director, Blue Ocean Ventures Ltd., Panjan Navaratnam, Managing Director, Hemas Hospitals Ltd., Fahir Khiard, Director- Khiards Jewellery Co., S.M.M. Yaseen, Manager Business Promotion, LTL Holdings Ltd., Andre Fernando, Chairman/Managing Director, MAC Holdings Ltd., H.J.R. Mendis, Managing Director, Prudential Shipping Lines Ltd. & Helanka Vacations Ltd., A. Samson C. de Silva, Managing Director, S.S. Impex Ltd., Satheeka Kavisekera, Senior Business Development Executive, Spear Global Holdings Ltd., Vish Govindasamy, Group Managing Director and Aravindan Pararajasingham, Group Head of Strategic planning, Sunshine Holdings PLC. The visit was coordinated by Harshini Fernando, Management Executive of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
The mission was organised to coincide with the Singapore Business Federation Seminar on Doing Business in Sri Lanka followed by One-to-One Business Meetings which was organised by the Federation itself, which is the Apex Business Chamber in Singapore with over 18,000 members and is closely supported by International Enterprise (IE) Singapore.
The Seminar on ‘Doing Business in Sri Lanka’, was well attended by 70 well established Singapore companies including Olam International, a leading agri-business firm, DP Architects Private Limited, Keppel Land International Limited, Super Group Ltd, and Hyflux Ltd etc.
Speaking during the forum, Vivek Chhabra, Regional Director of Heineken Asia Pacific Private Limited mentioned that Sri Lanka’s political stability is a positive factor in considering investment in the country.
He also stated that Singapore companies should look at participating in Sri Lanka’s urban and infrastructure development.
In her address Madam Ferial Ashraff, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Singapore spoke of the significant post war growth in Sri Lanka’s economy. She stated that the tourism industry was now rapidly growing and creating a positive influence on the country’s economy. The High Commissioner emphasised that organising seminars of this nature will greatly contribute to augment bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Singapore and thanked the Singapore Business Federation for their initiative in organising the forum.
Representing IE Singapore, Timothy Sun, Manager – South Asia Group gave the participants an overview of the Sri Lankan economy and Singapore – Sri Lanka trade. Sun highlighted sectors such as tourism, infrastructure, education and healthcare as having great potential with respect to business opportunities in Sri Lanka. Ranjan Sibera, Senior Deputy Director/Head of Infrastructure sector representing the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka made a presentation on the incentives offered to investors, the investment opportunities available in Sri Lanka whilst outlining the major projects that were currently underway.
A success story of doing business in Sri Lanka was shared by Roland Randall, Director, Princep Capital, who plays the role of an Investor, Developer, Operator and Advisor, who has also invested in industries as diverse as Cinnamon and Healthcare.
Randall spoke of government’s proactive approach to attracting FDI’s, the infrastructure development taking place in the country as favorable factors and mentioned a few pointers from his experience on how to be successful in doing business in Sri Lanka.
Addressing the gathering Shamil Mendis, President of the SLSBC stated that the participation of Sri Lankan delegates in a series of successful seminars and business sessions organised by the Singapore Business Federation and IE Singapore in the past has resulted in productive business contacts and partnerships between Singaporean and Sri Lankan companies. Considering Sri Lanka’s rapidly developing status as a regional hub for business Mendis invited potential Singaporean investors to join the Singapore Business Federation mission to Sri Lanka in August 2014 in order to explore the many opportunities available for doing business in the country. The Delegation also participated in a series of meetings at the Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SICCI) and the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI) which provided them an opportunity to network with the senior officials and members of the two Chambers.
Ferial Ashraff, Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Singapore hosted the members of the delegation for a networking session with Singaporean companies interested in exploring business opportunities and the members of the Singapore Sri Lanka Business Association during the mission.