One-stop-shop dead

* Country loses out on FDI


A leading corporate figure with extensive experience covering the public and private sectors of the country lashed out at authorities for killing the ‘one-stop-shop’ concept which was critical in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country.

"The one-stop-shop for investors is dead in this country," lamented Tissa Jayaweera Immediate Pat President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) making a comment at a recent forum organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) on the developments of the Asia-Pacific region economy and its implications for Sri Lanka.

"Recently I had to facilitate a small investment and we were sent from pillar to post. I managed to get things done because of the connections gathered in my years of public service. But what about investors without connections?" questioned Jayaweera.

"We are not only losing out on FDI, our private sector is not investing either because there is no level playing field while some foreign investors are finding there is no playing field at all," he said lashing out at the inefficiency of certain public institutions.

"In this background, certain officials make idiotic statements about the economy whereas investors find a situation much deviated from what is being said. We are digging our own grave," Jayaweera said.

The present and former positions held by Jayaweera include; Chairman / CEO of the AIMS (Pvt) Ltd, Global Focus (Pvt) Ltd, TJ Associates, Alexander Polyclinic (Pvt) Ltd and also the Chairman of Chelsea Enamels (Pvt) Ltd, Adviser Japan Asia Investment Company Ltd, Lionvert Holdings Inc, Chairman / Managing Director, Lanka Ceramic Ltd, Noritake Lanka Porcelain (Pvt) Ltd, Lanka Walltile Ltd, Lanka Tile Ltd, Lanka Refractories Ltd, ITMIN Ltd, Chairman International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka and President of the Sri Lanka Bangladesh Business Council.

The Board of Investment (BOI) the one-stop-shop for investors is in transition, leading analysts to believe that this adds to investor uncertainty about investing in the country.

While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has suggested that across the board concessions were unnecessary to attract FDIs, a global investment suggested that it was probably too premature to withdraw these concessions.

"Sri Lanka still needs to incentives investors," Mafaz Ishak, Director, Calamander Capital Singapore (Pvt) Ltd, Colombo Office, told the IPS forum.

Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation Dr. Sarath Amunugama said that Sri Lanka was not even attracting a fraction of the investments flowing in to the Philippines and Vietnam. "We are not even attracting a small faction of Chinese FDIs that are flowing into these countries. We are two years behind," he said.

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