Window of opportunity for FDIs - Jayamin Pelpola | Sunday Observer

Window of opportunity for FDIs - Jayamin Pelpola

27 September, 2020

Sri Lanka has a window of opportunity with resilience and potential to achieve world-class results in driving Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs), Jayamin Pelpola who was appointed to the Board of Investment (BoI) said on Friday.

Pelpola, a renowned banker turned tech entrepreneur was appointed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to the BOI board last week.

Jayamin has over a decade of international investment banking and asset management experience working for Goldman Sachs and Nomura USA.

He is the only Sri Lankan to have worked in the Principal Strategies group at Goldman Sachs, an award-winning team recognised for its creative and highest yielding investment strategies on Wall Street. He said Sri Lanka needs to improve on fundamental and measurable aspects of ease of doing business and industry competitiveness.

“However, everything is relative, and I think Sri Lanka has a window of opportunity. We have proven that we have a lot of resilience and potential for excellence. Taking into account how we continue to handle the Covid-19 crisis, it’s clear, with clear leadership, we can punch above our weight and achieve world class results,” Pelpola said, adding that investors prefer countries which can punch above their weight. He said in our recent history, the conclusion of a 30-year battle against terrorism was our first opportunity to reach out to the world. This may be our second. Pelpola said in the short term, Sri Lanka could accelerate its investor outreach in select sectors, while retaining sufficient flexibility to convince strategic investors.

“Let’s build on the stability the country has achieved in controlling the pandemic. We have to rally our resources and communication around this,” he said, adding that in the medium term, his main goal is to promote what is made in Sri Lanka and help the BOI increase the number of sustainable industries within the nation. He said we have only a handful of such industries, while some others have deteriorated in terms of their value addition and world standing.To achieve this, some “basics” have to be in place. We have to focus on the right reforms, right industries, right investors and punch above our weight wherever we can. In doing so, we also need to capture most of the value-added for ourselves.

“I would be very happy to contribute to Sri Lanka in a way that increases the nation’s competency and ambition. It is evident that Sri Lanka has space to improve in the areas of investment, finance and technology to accelerate the nation’s recovery,” Pelpola said.