An Echelon Media Company
Tuesday January 25th, 2022
Economy

Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment hit by multiple resignations

ECONOMYNEXT -ECONOMYNEXT – The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, the state investment promotion agency had been hit by resignations of several board members and senior officials.

Board members Harsha Cabraal PC, Sanjay Kulathunga and Harsha Subasinghe as well as Chairman Sanjaya Mohottala and Director General Pasan Wanigasekara have tendered their resignations, sources said.

The resignations came in the wake of an internal tussle between a trade union and senior management and recent questioning of BOI officials by the parliament’s committee on public enterprises.

Among points of contention had been a newly appointed committee.

A letter with over 800 signatures from union members questioning management action had been sent, sources said.

Questions had also been raised about the investments in zones made in 2017 and 2019 before the current management took office.

A media statement releaed by the BOI’s communications unit said several members of the board had stepped down.

The agency had to to compete against international promotion agencies and leadership felt the need to get new talent the statement said.

The full statement is reproduced below:

MEDIA STATEMENT

Prominent members of the Board of Directors of the Board of Investment have stepped down from their positions.

The Chairman, members of the Board of Directors and Director General assumed office with the singular intent of supporting His Excellency the President’s vision to double Sri Lanka’s GDP in this decade. In line with this, the Board of Investment’s role in transforming the country into a preferred investment destination by creating a compelling investment climate arose through the conceptualisation and execution of strategic and proactive investment promotions.

To achieve this strategic agenda, the cabinet and the leadership team of the Board of Investment recognised that many transformations were required internally to enable the Board of Investment to compete against over 1,000 international promotion agencies active globally. They also recognised that this task could not be achieved in silos, and that collaborative efforts through a public-private partnership model was essential.

This included the infusion of specialist skills through the acquisition of new talent for selected positions and also the obtaining of specialist professional services to attract and create new investment portfolios to stimulate the country’s trajectory towards a knowledge driven economy.

Unfortunately, the efforts of the leadership to achieve this urgently required transformation, was strongly and continuously resisted by isolated factions both within and outside the organization,who have put their self-interest over the public. Such factions either failed or refused to comprehend the competitive realities of the international promotion landscape, in which Sri Lanka needs to compete much more effectively, if it is to attract FDI at the scale the country needs.

It is also a matter of regret that the progressive agenda of the leadership has come into question in public fora, also implying mismanagement based on events that occurred during 2017 and 2019, a period prior to the time of the current leadership.

The many distortions and misconceptions publicised about the Board of Investment as a result of this confusion, has affected the reputation of the Board of Investment internationally, as well as the reputations of its key personnel.

Despite these unfortunate developments, the leadership of the Board of Investment remain confident
about the significant potential their programme of reforms can provide to support Sri Lanka’s economic progress in future, if it is continued to its natural culmination. They are hopeful that all stakeholders will collectively work in that manner necessary for the greater good of Sri Lanka and all its citizens.

(Colombo/Dec02/2021)

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