Calling Lanka

The Board of Investment is mooting changes to the BOI Act for bigger tax holidays encouraging call centres to relocate here.

rnCurrently Sri Lanka trails behind neighbouring countries like India and the Philippines as potential centres for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO).rn

rnHigh electricity costs and until recently – inflexible labour laws restricting overtime for women have been among the key issues aggravating the situation.rn

rnThe BOI is pushing for legal changes in its act to be able to offer larger tax holidays as an incentive for call centres to re-locate here, a BOI official said.rn

rnA 2000 seat call centre for example, requiring an investment of about US$ 25 mn is eligible for 8 tax free years, to be increased to 10 years under the proposed changes.rn

rnTax holidays currently range from between 5 and 10 years, based on investment levels of between US$12.5 mn and US$ 50 mn.rn

rnSri Lanka has about 5 call centres in operation, with Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank (HSBC), pumping i