ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is eying for Saudi Arabian investments into the island nation’s renewable energy, petroleum, real estates, hospitality, and Port City, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said after key Kingdom officials in Madinah city.
Sabry is on a five-day official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from January 23-27 on an invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
He met officials of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Faisal bin Salman bin AbdulAziz Al-Saud, Governor of Madinah
“The OIC meeting was very important for us because there was a deterioration of our relationship,” Sabry told EconomyNext via telephone from Saudi Arabia.
“We also discussed with the Medina governor and other officials on investments into petroleum, hospitality, employment, energy, real estate and the Port City. We also hope to avoid double taxation.”
“There could be a lot of opportunities for Sri Lanka from Saudi Vision 2030 where a lot of development is taking place. This is a good opportunity for Sri Lanka’s builders, engineers, quantity surveyors, and the IT sector.”
Saudi Arabia is one of Sri Lanka’s top markets for expatriate workers and remittances is the island nation’s top foreign exchange source.
Saudi Arabia had not expressed any interest in helping with a fuel credit line when former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government approached the Kingdom officially amid a deteriorated relation after Rajapaksa’s government stubbornly refused an OIC request to stop forced cremation of COVID-19 Muslim dead bodies.
Sri Lanka has been looking for large investments into the country to move away from the ongoing unprecedented economic crisis.
Sabry said there was no plan to request an oil credit this time.
“Credit means we have to repay it in future. So we are focusing more on investments.”
Minister Sabry is scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Farhan Al Saud and discuss further enhancement of the cordial bilateral relations. He will also meet with the senior officials of the Islamic Development Bank and other top officials in the next two days.(Colombo/Jan24/2023)