The Sri Lanka Government has hit its highest-ever Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) reaching over US$ 1 billion this year, more than doubling the amount in 2010, a Minister said yesterday. Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told media that during 2011, FDI had jumped to nearly US$ 1,070 million, which is almost double the US$ 516 million earned in 2010.
“When the war ended in 2009, Sri Lanka got US$ 602 million of foreign investment, but this decreased in the following year,” the Minister admitted, but went on to say that the Government had more than redeemed itself in 2011.
The Minister attributed Rs. 760 million of this to tourism and said that the target for 2012 had been set at Rs. 1 billion. Several prominent international hotel companies, including Sheraton, Mövenpick and Shangri-la, have agreed to invest in Sri Lanka to cash in on the post-war tourism boom.
The Government has approved 131 projects and signed agreements with 138, while commercial operation has been started on 51. Interestingly, even though the FDI is higher this year, it has created only 3,154 employment opportunities compared to the 9,729 new jobs in 2010. Local investment for the project is US$ 190 million and 67 projects were cancelled by the Board of Investment.
In 2010, 363 projects were approved but only 120 commenced commercial operations utilising US$ 433 million in local investment, according to the data released by the Ministry. A total of 193 projects were rejected in the previous year.