Sri Lanka to build economic development zones to encourage investments

Aug 04, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is planning to build economic development zones grouping about four investment zones to encourage investment and support 50 billion US dollars export target, Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said.

“In order to ensure that there are large investors coming in to the country, we are having economic development areas,” Wickramasinghe said speaking at the Economic Summit 2015, themed towards exports of 50 billion US dollar economy in Colombo, Tuesday.

“Within that we will cluster three or four investment promotion zones that will reduce the cost of infrastructure that will make it easier for us to control pollution and ensure the environment is protected,”

He said there will be two major zones located around the Western province starting from Kuliyapitiya to Diwulapitiya and the other is from Horana to Avissawella.

The third economic development zone will focuses on logistics, thinking of the port and airport in Colombo, while another zone will be built focusing on financial services.

These zones will be located within Hambantota and Trincomalee tagged along with Jaffna.

“Apart from that, we are looking at two economic development zone for tourism, with one zone located within Bentara to Weligama, and other within cultural triangle to attract high spending tourists.” Wickramasinghe said.

He added that the government is also planning another 22 economic development areas for export oriented agricultural sector.

Sri Lanka’s exports earnings recorded a marginal decline of 0.1 per cent, year-on-year, to 883 million US dollars in May 2015, led by lower performance in tea, sea food, gem, diamond and jewellery exports while imports rose 17.2 percent to 1.585 million US dollars in May 2015 from a year earlier led by vehicle imports, official data showed.

The Export Development Board (EDB) of Sri Lanka said that it has identified several areas of focus for the country to achieve the target of US$ 50 billion in exports which includes sufficient value addition, proper implementation of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), increased inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), implementation of new initiatives and high tech products.