Mar 05, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the island is on the path of becoming an attractive place for business in South Asia and one of the fastest growing regions in the world.
“We are undertaking many policy initiatives to incentivize direct private investment both foreign and local. In 2018, you will see the results of our commitment to improving the ease of doing business, ” the Prime Minister said.
“By mid-2018, the time taken to register a new business will reduce from 6 days to just 1 day.”
Finding land and registering property will be halved from 51 days to 26 days, and the procedures reduced from 9 steps to 2 steps, he added.
“We are introducing an ‘Electronic Single Window’ that will link dozens of state agencies dealing with international trade through a few clicks,”
The Prime Minister was making the keynote address at the ‘Invest Sri Lanka’ Investor Forum organized by the Colombo Stock Exchange , the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and the Singapore –Sri Lanka Business Association.
He then went on to emphasize on commitments made by the Sri Lankan government towards economic reforms and improving the ease of doing business in Sri Lanka and stated.
“We are very focused on fiscal consolidation, and the results are already visible – the tax to GDP ratio has improved, and ratings agencies are providing favourable outlooks,”
“We are undertaking many policy initiatives to incentivize direct private investment both foreign and local. In 2018, you will see the results of our commitment to improving the ease of doing business.”
Commenting on further improving trade and economic cooperation with key international partners, the Prime Minister said the Singapore-Sri Lanka FTA is part of a broader strategy of looking East to renew our trade relationships.
“While we focus on growing and sustaining our traditional markets of the US and Europe, we have begun to diversify our markets towards Asia and focus on plugging into Asian supply chains,”
“This FTA is our first agreement with a South East Asian country – and we envisage this as a first step towards closer integration with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.”
He added that the island can leverage on its strategic location to expand market access.
“Therefore we are expanding our trade and investment relationships with a diverse set of countries, such as the US, EU, India, China, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia.”
The Minister for Trade and Industry in Singapore S.Iswaran speaking at the event stated that the Singapore-Sri Lanka FTA is a clear demonstration of Sri Lanka’s commitment to re-integrate into the global economy and bring more economic opportunities for its businesses and the people of Sri Lanka.
“For Singapore, this agreement marks another step-forward in our commitment to free and open markets, and to deepening our bilateral ties with Sri Lanka, and through Sri Lanka into the South Asian region.”
“We are already starting to see the benefits of the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement – the positive news surrounding the agreement has led to an uptick in interest from Singapore companies to partner Sri Lankan companies to invest in opportunities both within Sri Lanka, and to use Sri Lanka as a hub to expand into the broader South Asian region.”
A Sri Lankan delegation including senior representatives of the CSE, SEC,the Central Bank of Sri Lanka,17 listed companies and 12 Stock Broker Firms collectively pitched for further investment flows into Sri Lanka.