The State Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing Corporation of Sri Lanka (SPMC) and Pharma Zone Ltd. entered into an agreement yesterday to build the first ever exclusive Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Zone of Sri Lanka in the Welipenna area of the Kalutara District at an investment in excess of $ 10 million.
Pharma Zone Ltd, located on 50 acres, is a BOI-approved company whose principals are the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Ismail Ibni Sultan Iskandar and leading Malaysian entrepreneur Patrick Lim Soo Kit.
It is Sultan Ibrahim’s desire that this investment results not only in commercial success but also that it will benefit many Sri Lankan citizens and promote closer commercial and diplomatic relations between the people of Sri Lanka and Johor.
The Sultan’s investment vehicle Inti Kemuncak Sdn Bhd is a well-established property development company based in Malaysia focusing on large-scale property development in the Asian region. Inti Kemuncak is the innovative developer of major townships and urban regeneration projects including Coronation Square, a $ 1.2 billion international class urban mixed development located within the prestigious Ibrahim International Business District (IIBD) in Johor Bahru.
Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne along with other representatives of the SPMC and Pharma Zone Ltd. participated in the event which was held at Waters Edge. Pharma Zone will provide local pharmaceutical manufacturers with sufficient land for manufacturing plants and basic infrastructure facilities for the manufacture of pharmaceutical products with a view to achieving the Government’s target of localising production of essential pharmaceutical items to a value of $ 100 million, thus saving valuable foreign exchange.
Dr. Senaratne expressed his gratitude to the Sultan and the people of Johor Malaysia for making the Pharma Zone a reality. He said that the establishment of the Pharma Zone by the Sultan would hopefully give confidence and encourage other overseas investors to follow suit.
“We are delighted to enter into this agreement with the Government of Sri Lanka, which has always enjoyed warm relations with Malaysia. It is the fervent wish of His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, that this venture not only brings commercial prosperity to Sri Lanka but benefits the people by way of reduced pricing as well as the ready availability of drugs,” said Lim while speaking at the occasion. “This is a 100% Malaysian investment and it underlines the high regard that the Sultan and the people of Johor have for Sri Lanka.”
SPMC Chairman Dr. Sayura Samarasundara said that with the completion of the Pharma Zone, envisaged to be in operation within one year, the country’s dependency on imported drugs will soon become a thing of the past.
The zone will be run and administered by Pharma Zone, headed by Lim, while the SPMC along with the Ministry of Health will set the standards and monitor quality.
Electricity, water, road infrastructure, security, waste water management, etc. will all be provided to the companies operating within the zone, and it is the intention of Pharma Zone to attract overseas investors to set up operations within the zone as well.
“We will be marketing Pharma Zone regionally,” said Lim.
With the establishment of Pharma Zone it is hoped that most of Sri Lanka’s drug availability and cost issues will soon come to an end.