Invest Sri Lanka 2018 forum in Singapore : PM spells out efforts to woo investments | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Invest Sri Lanka 2018 forum in Singapore : PM spells out efforts to woo investments

Presenting the island to an audience of high profile Singaporean businessmen and fund managers at the Invest Sri Lanka 2018 forum, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that Sri Lanka is currently setting up three large industrial zones, including one in partnership with a private investor from Thailand, in addition to the new Logistics and Industrial Zones in Hambantota being developed with Chinese investment.

“We also expect to develop tourist zones and domestic airports across the country, to facilitate the booming tourism industry. The major tourist resorts which are available to private developers will each be over 500 acres in extent, larger than many tourist island resorts in the region,” the Premier told the Forum at the Four Seasons Hotel in Singapore.

While noting the government is developing Sri Lanka’s three large ports and two international airports and improving domestic connectivity and infrastructure, he said a key initiative on this front will be the highway connecting Hambantota, Colombo and Kandy, “opening up new corridors of economic dynamism”.

Calling on Singaporeans to invest in Sri Lanka to benefit from the early mover advantage, the Prime Minister reiterated that Sri Lanka is committed to forging ahead with the reform agenda.

“By mid-2018, the time taken to register a new business will reduce from six days to just one day.

The time taken to find land and register property will be halved from 51 days to 26 days, and the procedures reduced from nine steps to two steps,” the Prime Minister said.

He said Sri Lanka is introducing an ‘Electronic Single Window’ that will link dozens of State agencies dealing with international trade, through a few clicks. Through the Colombo International Financial City, the present Port City project, Sri Lanka is creating a unique business climate that is globally-competitive, he said.

The enabling legislation is now in the preparatory stage. “We plan to launch the gallery mid this year – should you visit,” Wickremesinghe said. Complementing these efforts, the Prime Minister said the government is undertaking comprehensive trade policy reforms by removing protectionist para-tariffs to leverage on its strategic location and expand market access.

“We are expanding our trade and investment relationships with a diverse set of countries, such as the US, EU, India, China, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia,” the Prime Minister said. The Premier vowed to make Sri Lanka a strong, stable and resilient economy, and an attractive place to do business through liberalization efforts coupled with other initiatives such as the National Export Strategy, the Tourism Strategy, the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy and the Digital Economy Strategy.