Sri Lanka to have investment facilitation agency

EconomyNext – Sri Lanka’s new government plans to set up an investment facilitation agency to speed up approvals for investors which are now subject to long delays, a minister said.

The government is also trying to unblock several investment projects already in the pipeline but held up for various reasons, said Eran Wickramaratne, Deputy Minister of Highways, Higher Education and Investment Promotion.

It intends to do away with a strategic development project law of the ousted Rajapaksa regime which has been criticised for giving generous tax breaks selectively.

"We’re going to have a central facilitation agency and bring in different agencies around one table to smoothen the process for investors," Wickramaratne told a legal forum organised by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Thursday.

The new government can’t promote foreign direct investment immediately but acted fast to "normalise" relations with key trade partners like India, the United States and the European Union with whom ties were strained under Rajapaksa, he said.

"We can’t promote FDI in a short time but we have a pipeline of investment projects, some signed, some being discussed. We’re trying to unblock them," Wickramaratne said.

"We have about 6-7 billion US dollars of investments in the pipeline."

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