Sri Lanka warned to speed up reforms before investors look elsewhere
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka should make use of the window of opportunity it now has to improve the investment climate before it closes and investors look elsewhere, a senior World Bank official said.
Reforms are difficult and challenging, even for those who stand to gain the most from them, Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director, Sri Lanka and Maldives said.
“I believe that the package of reforms is sound and overall will be beneficial; but to get better than satisfactory impact the reform process will need commitment and perseverance,” she told the launch of the government’s ‘Roadmap to Improve the Investment Climate’.
“The roadmap to improve the investment climate is in place as is the Task Force to lead the work,” Pswarayi-Riddihough said.
“But as with all windows of opportunity they are unfortunately time bound. Inaction over a period of time; and more importantly lack of results will hasten the window’s closure.”
She said it was important for Sri Lanka to improve its ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report, one of the most cited reports of the World Bank globally.
Investors use the rankings to make decision on whether they invest or not, Pswarayi-Riddihough said.
“They will be looking at the actual result but also at the trend of progress over a number of years. They may even use these results to make a prediction on the following year’s results.
“So it’s very important to not only do well in a single year, but it may actually be more important to show progress. It’s a proven fact that unless the investment climate is favorable, investors will look elsewhere for options.
Pswarayi-Riddihough said Sri Lanka has potential to show that its predicted score is a positive one.
“To do this it must stay on the reform path. Consistency and determination to deliver high quality reforms will earn credibility.”
A steady pace of creating a robust regulatory and institutional foundation will help Sri Lanka raise its ranking, Pswarayi-Riddihough said.
(COLOMBO, July 06, 2017)