In its efforts to attract suitable investments to Sri Lanka and revive the country’s export positioning in international markets, the Government has recently made a series of broad changes.
According to Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama these changes will assure the development of the country and address unemployment issues. “We have established a new global recognition in Sri Lanka. This required a decisive shift in the policies by moving away from protectionism and the unfavorable regulations prevailing in the country for a long time. An unfavourable domestic business climate and ineffective regulations discouraged foreign investors and traders from effectively contributing to the growth of the country. All over the country there was a significant level of unemployment. 60% of the labour force was made up of informal sector workers. Providing them better jobs with higher salaries are obligations our Government must fulfil,” he said.
Revealing the Government’s plans to develop the Hambantota Port and the surrounding area, the Minister said: “Sri Lanka obtained a loan from China and we are now unable to pay it back. The Hambantota Port will be developed by entering into an agreement with a Chinese Government-owned company. So the new agreement will provide us with $ 1.6 billion within the next six months. We are also expecting an oil refinery, dockyard and LNG plant to come there.”
“The clear public mandate given to us demands more focused plans for creating better lives for most of our people. The Government is forming outward-looking trade and investment policies which aim to revive Sri Lanka’s export competitiveness and integrate the country deeper in the region and the rest of the world. We are also in the process of implementing reforms to uplift the country’s trade and investment performance. Many steps were taken to improve the business environment and make Sri Lanka an attractive destination for FDI. 2016 has been a transformative year for Sri Lanka due to many reasons. Attracting the right investment is challenging where many structural changes were made,” he added. (AH)