Sri Lanka’s plans to boost foreign direct investment through a raft of pro-business policies and incentives are mapped out in a landmark report just produced by the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG).
The Report: Sri Lanka 2016 looks in detail at the government’s vision for boosting economic growth, which places tourism development high on the agenda and includes a target of attracting 4m visitors by 2020.
The publication also charts the overhaul earmarked for Sri Lanka’s transport infrastructure which will enable the country to build on its status as a global shipping hub.
The Report: Sri Lanka 2016 was launched at a themed event, held on August 1 at the Galle Face Hotel, Colombo, and attended by VIPs, together with high-profile representatives from the public and private sectors.
The launch included a lively debate on the theme ‘Sri Lanka: Investment Opportunities 2016-2017’, with keynote speeches made by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and Paulius Kuncinas, OBG’s Managing Editor for Asia.
The panelists consisted of: Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka; Upul Jayasuriya, the Chairman of Board of Investments Sri Lanka (BOI); Dr. Harsha De Silva, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dilshan Wirasekara, the CEO of First Capital Holdings; and Jim McCabe, the CEO of Standard Chartered Sri Lanka.
While rubber, tea and spice exports remain a major contributor to Sri Lanka’s economy, the government is keen to move towards a broader basket of higher-value goods as it looks for ways of narrowing the trade deficit.
OBG’s report analyses the key role earmarked for the industrial and manufacturing sectors in helping to diversify the country’s exports. The Report: Sri Lanka 2016 also considers the challenges that the country faces in implementing structural reforms, which include both global economic headwinds and domestic barriers to growth.
The Report: Sri Lanka 2016 contains contributions from the President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, together with a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors.
International personalities, such as Hugo Swire, former Minister of State, UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Arjun Bahadur Thapa, Secretary-General, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, also give their views on Sri Lanka’s development.
Andrew Jeffreys, OBG’s CEO and Editor-in-Chief, said that with stability returned to Sri Lanka and a new, economically liberal government in place, the country was well placed to harness its strengths.
“Sri Lanka’s strategic geographical location, which gives it proximity to several key markets, is a major draw for investors, while new trade agreements will support future growth,” he said. “Our first economic report on this fascinating island nation points to a country ripe with opportunities that has begun the transition to globally integrated player.”
Kuncinas agreed that while there will inevitably be challenges on the road to reform, it was clear from the Group’s research that Sri Lanka had already begun laying the foundations for change.
“The government has signalled its intention to create a transparent and inclusive system that will support economic expansion, backed up by an investor-friendly environment,” he said. “I look forward to following the country’s progress as it moves forward with its reforms and takes its place on the world stage.”
The Report: Sri Lanka 2016 marks the culmination of more than six months of field research by a team of analysts from OBG. The publication assesses trends and developments across the economy, including macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. The publication is available in print and online.