Sri Lanka missing the bus again?

June 25, 2012 (LBO) – If Sri Lanka is to achieve transformative, inclusive growth, it needs to have 7 percent plus growth for several consecutive years. It is well recognized by knowledgeable people, including key decision makers within government, that this would require around one billion dollars in new investment every year. This quantum cannot be generated internally. Therefore, the government has been, correctly, talking up foreign investment.

What has not been adequately understood is the competitive nature of the process. Being good is not good enough; we must be better than the alternatives. Being good is not enough; we must be perceived to be better.

An investor looking at Sri Lanka will also look at similar opportunities elsewhere, especially in the region. All this time, the relevant questions were whether we were more attractive to investment than Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, etc. But now, there is a new competitor for investment: Myanmar.

“Laws, rules and regulations are important and need to be flexible for investors as they will come and invest only when they are protected by laws,” [President TheinSien] said.

The new investment law will give a five-year tax holiday to foreign investors, an increase of two years from the current rules, [Deputy Minister for National Planning and Economic Deve