The Government has set up a unit to attract the Sri Lankan Diaspora to invest in the country on favourable terms to uplift the economy, a senior official said yesterday. The unit known as the Office for Overseas Sri Lankan Affairs (OOSLA) under the Presidential Secretariat will work with 23 other partners, both from the State and private sector, the head of the unit V. Krishnamoorthy told the Sunday Observer. Among the partners will be the Foreign, Labour, Finance and ministries along with the Chamber of Commerce, Krishnamoorthy, a former senior career diplomat said.
He said the main focus of the unit was to target the Sri Lankan Diaspora across the ethnic divide and persuade them to invest in the country and 62 Sri Lankan missions overseas will be tasked for the purpose.
“We are looking at Sri Lankans, mainly those engaged in businesses in their adopted countries and others with substantial savings.
The entire process will have the maximum transparency at all levels with investment safety guarantees. This is something we have been working on from the beginning of this year and a mechanism with a professional understanding is needed for its implementation and success.
At the beginning, we will target Sri Lankans domiciled in Canada, the US, UK France, Australia and Italy and thereafter to other countries in Asia and elsewhere”, Krishnamoorthy said.
He said OOSLA will also reach out to the Global Tamil Forum, the Hong Kong Buddhist Cultural Association and the Mother Association in Germany.
“We will also work together with the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) where there is an estimated 2.5-3 million Sri Lankans believed to be working overseas with the bulk concentrated in West Asia.
The assistance of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) will also be sought to boost social media,material designing and printing to raise awareness about OOSLA and its services”, said Krishnamoorthy who was Sri Lanka’s former Envoy to Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai and Permanent Representative of the UN on Habitat and Climate Change.
“At the core of our mission is trust building through dialogue with the Sri Lankan Diaspora and on a hybrid mode OOSLA will launch its website on December 12, International Migrants’ Day”, he said.