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The Eastern Provincial Council last week announced it will be hosting the second ‘Invest-In-East 2016’ Investment Promotion Forum in Colombo on January 28 with a motive of attracting foreign investors into the region. President Maithripala Sirisena accompanied by Prime Minister, Ranil  Wickremesinghe is  expected to inaugurate the Forum, organized by the Chief Ministry of Eastern Province in collaboration with the Ministry of Development Strategy and International Trade and the Ministry of Christian Affairs and Tourism Affairs.

According to the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, Hafiz Nazeer Ahamed over 300 foreign delegates have already confirmed participation at the forthcoming event to be held at the Galadari Hotel and it indicates that the country could now expect some ‘serious investors’.

“The Eastern Province is blessed with a rich pool of natural resources, high tourism potential, land for agricultural investments, inland water bodies and a long coast for fisheries, vast potential for livestock development. This investment promotion forum will therefore play significant role in sending the message that the Eastern Province is now, “Ready for Investments” and the provincial and national governments are willing to do their utmost to facilitate their investments,” the Chief Minister said addressing a press conference last week.

He noted that the Eastern Provincial Council has compiled several project proposals in areas covering agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, tourism and small industries and the Council has set an internal target of tapping US$1 billion of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) into the region in the next four years.

“Countries that have already confirmed their participation are India, several middle eastern countries, Korea, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the USA and several other countries. Out of the large number of foreign investors who are expected to participate includes large contingents of Commerce and Industry Chambers,” a statement by the organizers said.

The forum is expected to facilitate prospective investors to obtain all details that may be needed to invest in Sri Lanka. Further, two information desks are to be located in Colombo and Trincomalee providing information on specific areas of investment. In addition, the Board of Investment will also provide information to investors on investment policy and incentives etc.

“This investment promotion programme  focusing the Eastern Province is held at a time when the Government has formulated a plan for the economic transformation of Sri Lanka. We are in the process of restructuring foreign direct investment procedure with a view to removing bottlenecks and avoiding delays,” Minister of Development Strategy and International Trade Malik Samarawickrema said at the press conference held to announce the event.

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