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20 January, 2016 09:01 AM Source: Financial Times - Sri Lanka
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Despite a disappointing year for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the Government is still confident of attracting $ 5 billion in the next three years, a top official said yesterday.

Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama told journalists he was “quite optimistic” of reaching the target even though Sri Lanka had consistently failed to pass the $ 2 billion mark in the last seven years. Numbers for 2015 were also below expectations, with the Minister acknowledging an estimate of $ 700-$ 800 million for the past 12 months.

“Attracting significant FDI will undoubtedly be a significant challenge given the prevailing global uncertainties but Sri Lanka is well placed to receive significant interest from top companies,” the Minister said.
As part of the push to attract large-scale investment to Sri Lanka, the Government has planned several road shows aimed at top 01-03companies. In addition, the Government will also concentrate on strong policies to give investors a consistent business climate to operate in that will deviate from the standard tax holidays.

“The plan is to have road shows in Mumbai, Tokyo, Beijing, the United States and some countries in Europe,” he noted, “So within the course of this year we hope to cover five to six major countries and at the same time I have been invited to China.”

“They (China) will come up with a program to set up industries – particularly in the Southern and Western regions. They want to have economic zones and bring in the investors themselves.”

The Government will kick off its provincial investment with the ‘Invest-in-East’ forum later this month, where about 250 foreign business delegates are expected to attend. It will be inaugurated by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

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