ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Board of Investments said it has rejected an investment proposal for a high-speed railway project because the investor had asked for tax holidays and large swathes of land but failed to provide financial and technical credentials and past project reports.
Ceylon High Speed Railway Corporation had proposed to invest 500 million US dollars in the railway project, and requested 4,000 acres of land and sought approvals for a private bank and a university," the BOI said.
The investor had also proposed to fill-up 600 acres of marshland at Muthurajawela, a protected reserve.
"Their failure to provide details such as proof of their past experiences in building such projects, their financial credentials and technical know-how made it impossible for BOI to approve a project that required handing over thousands of acres of state lands with no proof that it could be finalized," the BOI said in a statement.
"This information is what is normally requested from investors who apply to start projects," it said.
The investor was required to provide these documents to the BOI to obtain the clearance of the Single Window Investment Approval Committee (SWIAC) which was set up by the state to approve large investments.
"They also wanted to build super luxury hotels with liquor licenses in each of their industrial zones to be set up," the BOI said.
"The company in question also requested tax holidays which could not be accommodated under the present laws," it said.
There had been media reports alleging corruption in not approving the deal. (COLOMBO, 26 September 2018)