Full steam ahead for FDI

Friday, 10 January 2014 00:24 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Govt. sets target of $ 2.5 b for 2014
  • Confident of exceeding $ 2 b 2013 target with $ 870 m
  • etted by end 3Q
  • Export values of BOI companies up  
  • Three new projects of $ 870 m already lined up
By Uditha Jayasinghe An ambitious Government has set a target of $ 2.5 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for 2014 and has a string of new projects lined up to bring the target closer. Investment Promotions Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene was upbeat of the FDI attracted in 2013, pointing out that up to the third quarter total investments reached $ 870 million, which is a 41% increase over the corresponding period of the previous year. “Final statistics will be released in February and we are confident of exceeding the $ 2 billion target for 2013,” he told reporters. Most foreign investments in Sri Lanka come under the purview of State run Board of Investment (BOI). It is also the BOI that oversees all the investment zones in the country. At present, there are 1,723 projects in commercial operation under the BOI. Total value of exports of BOI approved projects was $ 5.9 billion as at November 2013.  Compared to the export value of $ 5.5 billion in the corresponding period of 2012, this is an 8% growth. “The export value for December 2013 is in the process of calculation and when this value is included, the total export value will be over $ 6.05 billion,” the Minister added. BOI companies account for about 65% of Sri Lanka’s total exports, which is about $ 9.4 billion in 2013 according to the Central Bank. Three projects totalling $ 470 million have already been earmarked for implementation in 2014. The investors are from the UAE, Australia and Spain. Onyx Industries from the UAE will invest $ 300 million. This project is planned to be constructed in Kappalthurai to manufacture value added titanium dioxide from mineral sands. Further this project will produce super phosphate for manufacturing of fertiliser. The Energy Puzzle Group of Australia will invest $ 190 million to manufacture solar panels and cells. The factory will be established in Mirrijawila. The RIU Group of Spain will invest $ 80 million jointly with Aitken Spence to construct a 500 room hotel. It is expected to provide 1,000 employment opportunities. Last year Sri Lanka’s highest foreign investor was China accounting for about 24% of all inflows.