ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka plans to use the Biyagama free trade zone as a blueprint for national industrialisation targeting rapid development over 15-20 years, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
Speaking at an event in Mawlana on Wednesday September 06, Wickremesinghe said significant progress has been made in the Biyagama region since the establishment of the trade zone there.
The President’s Media Division said in a statement on Thursday that Wickremesinghe had highlighted Sri Lanka’s potential to become a thriving investment hub. He had also spoken of plans to open up “new investment opportunities on a global scale, paving the way for Sri Lanka to emerge as a prominent investment destination”.
The crisis-hit South Asian nation is targeting between 1.5 to 2.0 billion US dollars of foreign investments in 2023, State Minister for Investment Promotion Dilum Amunugama said in May. According to Director General of the Board of Investments of Sri Lanka Renuka Weerakone, Sri Lanka had realised FDI of 210mn dollars in the first quarter.
President Wickremesinghe said that regions including Bingiriya, Hambantota, Kandy, Trincomalee, and the Northern Province have been earmarked for the establishment of industrial estates.
“These areas are set to undergo rapid development, transforming into vibrant commercial cities,” the PMD quoted him as saying.
The commitment of local representatives to attract investment opportunities for the advancement of their respective districts was also highlighted by Wickremesinghe, who according to the PMD had cited the example of the Biyagama investment zone, which he said has evolved into the “premier trade zone in South Asia”.
Replicating the success of industrialisation seen in Biyagama and Katunayake across all provinces is crucial for alleviating economic pressures, he said.
Wickremesinghe has also highlighted the government’s “dedication to strengthening the country’s economy while simultaneously creating employment opportunities for the nation’s youth”. (Colombo/Sep07/2023)