Legal process, lack of approvals delay FDI

Long delays in Sri Lanka’s legal process and a lack of speedy approvals from government institutions have delayed foreign direct investment (FDI), the head of state-run investment body chief said on Friday.

The government said last month FDI slumped 54 percent to $450 million last year compared with $970 million in 2015.

Upul Jayasuriya, head of the Board of Investment (BOI), said the island nation has seen strong interest for investment from many countries, but approvals have been long delayed.

Environmental issues, lack of electricity approval, delays by local authorities and some government agencies, and public harassment of investors have caused “concerns to some of the investors”.

“There are issues with regard to the judiciary. Sometimes judgements are delayed, sometimes not delivered, sometimes implementation of a judgment does not take effect,” Jayasuriya told reporters. “It doesn’t happen in other countries.”

Sri Lanka had $5 billion worth of FDI in the pipeline in October 2015, but around a 10th materialised.

Jayasuriya said a $500 million investment to manufacture steel billet by a Chinese company and another $200 million investment in apartments by Singapore-based Mustafa were currently in the pipeline.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe-led centre-right United National Party, which is in a coalition with President Maithripala Sirisena’s centre-left Sri Lanka Freedom Party promised to revive the economy with major foreign investment.(Reuters)

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