Sri Lanka tax refund delays worry Japanese investors

Dec 24, 2010 (LBO) – Japanese investors are keen to invest in post-war Sri Lanka but firms already operating in the island are concerned about delays in value-added tax refunds and high electricity tariffs, a visiting lawmaker said. These concerns were conveyed to the investment promotion agency, Board of Investment, by Hirofumi Hirano, chairman of the Parliamentarian League and former chief Cabinet secretary.

Hirano headed a team of Japanese lawmakers who visited the island this week to take stock of the situation following the end of the 30-year ethnic war in May 2009.

Japan has been one of Sri Lanka’s top aid donors, helping to build container terminals that made Colombo port south Asia’s transhipment hub, and other infrastructure like roads, hospitals and power plants.

The island’s economic growth has begun to accelerate and record numbers of tourists are arriving in the country after the war.

Hirano said Japanese firms were interested in exploring opportunities in the island and stressed that the views and experiences of those firms already operating in the island would be critical in attracting more investors.

“When Japanese investors come to Sri Lanka they want to see how exiting companies are doing,”