Sri Lanka must cut business costs to lure investors: World Bank

June 08, 2010 – Sri Lanka’s investment climate must be improved and cost of doing business reduced to attract the private investment needed to speed up growth and improve people’s lives, a senior World Bank official said. Sri Lanka needs to sharply increase private investment in order to accelerate growth, Ernesto May, handling private sector development in South Asia, said.

Investors must be given a chance to get an adequate rate of return so Sri Lanka needs to address cost of doing business issues, he told a news conference held to unveil the new World Bank South Asia Economic Update report.

Sri Lanka has been ranked at 105 out of 183 countries in the World Bank’s latest cost of doing business index and has been sliding down the ranking, May said.

“This is an issue that Sri Lanka needs to address head-on.”

The country needs to increase private investment to about 27 percent of Gross Domestic Products from the current 19 percent to speed up economic growth to levels needed to improve the lives of most people.

“Increasing private investment by eight percentage points of GDP is humongous,” May said.

“Opportunities need to be there for investors to get adequate rates of return. So there’s a n