Sri Lanka to push overseas investments

Aug 17, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is seeking to encourage local businessmen to venture overseas by establishing clear rules and reducing red tape, especially for capital outflows, seen as a key impediment, a senior official said. Kanchana Ratwatte, the new chairman of the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA), said a growing number of Sri Lankan businesses were looking to invest abroad, having acquired the capital and expertise in manufacturing and marketing.

The authority expects to get a soft loan from Japan of around 25 million dollars to support investment promotion and management training activities.

“The aim is to make multinationals of Sri Lankan enterprises,” Ratwatte said. “NEDA is going to be a proactive facility for enterprises going out of Sri Lanka,”

While there were guidelines and support for local exporters and foreign investors in the local economy, there were none for Sri Lankan companies wanting to invest overseas.

“For investors coming to Sri Lanka there is a one-stop shop called the Board of Investment. The Export Development Board is there to help exporters,” said Ratwatte.

“But for investors going out of the country, there’s no strict policy or guidelines.”