Sri Lanka need to increase its Foreign Direct Investments (FDI’s) ratio against the GDP and to achieve this the country should improve the, “Doing Business Ranking.”
Nilam Jayasinghe, Chairman Industrial Association of Sri Lanka( IASL) said in 2010 Foreign Direct Investments (FDI’s) were USD 516 mn, but has steadily grown to USD 1.68 billion by 2014. However, this figure was merely 1.3% of GDP, which was far blow that of most comparable countries, which has a ratio in excess of 3%. He was addressing the Industrial Association of Sri Lanka( IASL) 24th AGM in Colombo on Friday.
“To achieve this, we really need to improve the, “Doing Business Ranking” were Sri Lanka is in the 99th position this year having been at the 85th position last year. This shows that there are almost 100 countries competing for investments ahead of Sri Lanka. The concept of a, One Stop Shop has been spoken for years, but this has yet to be a reality. We urge the Government to take all necessary measures to encourage investors mainly with, Green Field projects, by creating a very conducive and investor friendly environment,” he said.
The IASL as in the past has made representations to regulatory agencies regarding issues faced by its members.
These vary from taxation, to tariffs, labour related issues and also regarding policy. However, the association is also encouraged to see the progress made by the forum, “Ease of Doing Business” initiated by the Minister of Finance engaging the private sector to deal with specific issues faced by them, to be resolved promptly.
The Association also urged the Government to ensure a consistent policy framework and refrain from imposing one off taxes such as the Super Grains Tax and the laws such as the Land Alienation Bill, which could be harmful to possible FDI’s.
The Industrial Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) welcomed the initiatives taken by the Government to enter into FTA’s with countries such as India and China.
The Association however urged that these be pursued with some degree of caution based on the principle of, “a level playing field” and also through a consultative process by engaging key stakeholder, as it has been done otherwise in the past.