New Sri Lanka investment chief assures faster approvals, encourages local investors

April 18, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s new investment promotion chief said Wednesday he wants to speed up approvals but also be more selective in targeting investors and eliminate attitudes that favour foreigners. Much land earmarked for prospective investors in investment zones, or expansion of existing projects, had not been used while the BOI told new investors it faced a land shortage. There are more than 500 investors waiting for approvals, with some of them hanging around in hotels and apartments in Colombo for long periods, Board of Investment (BOI) chairman Dhammika Perera said.

We aim to clear these pending investment approvals and hope to approve most of them in a matter of weeks.

Perera said soon after taking over as the BOI head that the organisation should make investors welcome rather than make them run from pillar to post.

His remarks reflected sentiment among foreign and local investors that the BOI is too lethargic and full of red tape that discourages investors.

Business people have long complained of lengthy delays in getting approvals and of corruption that discourage genuine investors.

Red Tape

Perera promised to simplify the paperw