Malik clears air over high speed electric train manufacturing project

Saturday, 29 September 2018 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Project not rejected, but investor needs to provide necessary information requested by SWIAC
  • SWIAC instructs BOI to issue a letter to investor to submit a comprehensive report


The Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry dismissed all allegations made with regards to the high speed electric train manufacturing project, pointing out that at all stages the project was handled by Board of Investment (BOI) in a transparent and consistent manner as the apex body for investment promotion and facilitator of projects that benefit the country.

“First of all, it is necessary to point out that either the Ministers or the Ministry officials do not get involved in the approval process of investment projects. There is a standard procedure established to provide all investment approvals. The Government established a comprehensive mechanism to deal with all major investment projects in a professional and transparent manner,” the Ministry said issuing a statement yesterday.  It said to this effect a high-powered committee was set up in December 2016 to evaluate and approve large scale investments and fast track the approval. 

“This committee, known as Single Window Investment Approval Committee (SWIAC), is chaired by the Secretary to the Treasury and consists at present of the following senior officials – the Economic Advisor to the President, the Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister, the Chairman BOI, the Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the Technical Advisor to the Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade and one other member representing the Director Board of BOI.”

Since 2016, the Committee has held 31 meetings where a total of 54 large-scale projects have been processed. Out of these, 26 projects have been approved, a total of five of these projects have been deferred due to various reasons including insufficient information provided, or issues relating to policy decisions.  

According to the Ministry the high speed railway project in question is one of the five of deferred projects as the investor had submitted incomplete information which made it not possible for SWIAC to approve this project. 

“The current status of this project is that it is not rejected, but the investor in question needs to provide the necessary information requested by the committee so that it could be considered for approval. The reason why the project has been deferred was because of concerns raised by the Committee regarding the past track record of the company, technical knowhow, financial credibility of investors, market orientation and justification of the requirement of 4,000 acres of land for the project.

 In view of the above, the Committee which met on 4 August 2017 was of the view that the decision could not be taken due to lack of clarity and information,” the statement noted.

The Ministry said investor was informed to re-submit the proposal by addressing the concerns identified by the Committee. The proposal was re-submitted by the investor on 11 October 2017.  But the Committee held on 10 November 2017 ruled that approval was not possible because the investor failed to submit a comprehensive project proposal with the required information. Accordingly the SWIAC has instructed BOI to issue a letter to the investor to submit a comprehensive report.

“This is a requirement which SWIAC requests from all investors and not just this project.  It is therefore important that all investors the essential details required by SWIAC to grant approval.  It is on this basis that 26 projects have been already approved which include 14 manufacturing projects, five utility projects, three projects involving tourism, agriculture and IT and four infrastructure projects,” the statement said.