BPA BizPact symposium ends on positive possibilities

Jay Perera, we spoke to him, he said he had with him four investors from the UK. Having seen ground situations in both areas UK investors were quite partial to setting up their businesses. More importantly, he said pledges of approximately 20,000 sterling were positive results of the regional trip.

Jay Perera, is the UK representative of Business for Peace Alliance, (BPA) and his overview was that possibilities for investment projected good environment for investors. He said these were his first hand views on the four day event in Colombo ended Monday this week.

Panel discussion was chaired by UK-Sri Lanka business Council, Jayampathy Perera, Panelists were, Jeremy Liyanage, Australia, Aruni Evans USA, Susan Joachim, Germany, Samantha Rasquinho, UAE.

Focus points that emerged were that product quality should be improved. This was crucial they said. Training was essential to meet world class standards.

However it was said that about 600 letters were dispatched to prospective investors. Of this figure they had had just one reply. That was in effect its impact.

Responsibility to promote the good name of Sri Lanka and that investments would bear positive results were general consensus of the first stage of these discussions.

Second stage discussions included Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affaires, Dr. Palitha Kohonne, Secretary , Ministry of Disaster Management & Human Rights, Professor, Rajiva Wijesinghe, Deputy Director, (Investments) BOI, A.M.C.Kulasekera, President National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka Rohan Fernando, Director general/CEO Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Ravi Peiris.

The press posed questions at this forum responses from official quarters were that government mechanism was not quite ready to deal with influx of investments. That being that although The BPA had initiated investment climate, nitty gritty, to circumvent or get past government Administrative Regulations and Financial Regulations had not been addressed, and in consequence would prove to be undoing factors that would perhaps turn off investers.

Dr. Kohonne said he had returned from Arugam Bay and development he had seen was substantial. This area alone would set the pace for development. More so investment.

Concerns raised by the press did not attract remarks on employable methods for cutting Government red tape. Red tape the press said was the biggest harbinger of doom. They said if the BOI was to assert its potential and contribute positively, red tape should be removed.

Further questions from the press included approvals on line and restrictions on officialese which caused dissent. More so frustration that would thwart enthusiasm.

Panelist Rohan Fernando agreed there were huge areas of government red tape which had to be circumvented but all that would take time. However A.M.C. Kulasekera, deputy DG BOI said all projects that had BOI approval were passed through expeditiously,

But in that context too no definite appraisal of red tape and its solution was not proposed or considered for solution.

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