Small Fry

Mar. 09 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has raised the minimum investment limit by five times to US$250,000 with immediate effect for foreigners operating restaurants, health centres, shops and other businesses in the country, officials said Thursday. Presently, some 1,600 such foreign owned entities are registered with the Board of Investment (BOI), provided they meet the minimum US$ 50,000 capital requirement.

Termed as ‘small time’ investors, these foreign owned businesses, operate under local laws, and are not given BOI concessions as they don’t export goods or services.

These investors have now been set a six-month deadline to top up their capital.

“Around 500-600 companies fall under US$250,000 limit now and they have to fall in line within six months,” BOI Director General Lakshman Watawala told reporters.

Those who fail to comply could either have their visas cancelled or not have their BOI license extended.

The sudden change of heart, however, excludes big ticket businessmen who invest in Sri Lanka to export goods and services to foreign buyers.

The minimum requirement for foreigners investing in those sectors range from US$ 15 million for manufacturing, US$ 50 million for hotels and so on.

“Sri Lanka has