Demand for bribes deterred German investments in Sri Lanka: Eran

EconomyNext – German investors like car manufacturer Volkswagen did not invest in Sri Lanka in the recent past because the ousted Rajapaksa regime demanded bribes and commissions to approve investments, a minister said.

Deputy Investment Promotions Minister Eran Wickremeratne said the new government was in talks with Volkswagen to set up a factory to make vehicles for export in Sri Lanka.

Foreign investors were now more keen to invest in the island because the new government formed after the January 2015 presidential poll assured them a fair and transparent investment environment, he said.

United States aerospace firm Honeywell is to send another science and technology team to Sri Lanka in two weeks, Wickremeratne told a news conference. 
 
Honeywell Chief Executive David M Cote met Wickremeratne during a visit to Colombo in May.

Wickremeratne said he had received a letter from a Sri Lankan employed by Volkswagen in Germany who had expressed pleasure at the news of the German auto giant’s proposed investment in Sri Lanka.

He quoted the letter as saying that German investors did not invest in Sri Lanka in a big way till now as they refused demands for bribes and commissions.

“That’s why the former regime rejected German investments,” Wickremeratne said.

In January 2015 a statement quoted the German envoy to Colombo as saying Volkswagen had been trying set up a plant to produce vehicles for export for years but had not succeeded due to unspecified reasons.

The statement was issued after German ambassador Jergen Morhard met deputy economic affairs minister Harsha de Silva.

The ambassador was quoted as saying that though Volkswagen, the second largest car maker in the world, "had strived since 2008 to start up a business to manufacture cars in Sri Lanka for export, it did not succeed for various reasons."

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(Colombo/July 14, 2015)

 

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