The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka hosted a delegation of 25 members from the Singapore Business Federation and Law Society of Singapore. The delegation consisted of entrepreneurs and senior lawyers led by Mr. Gregory Wijeyendran President of the Law Society of Singapore.
The Law Society of Singapore is a body established under the Legal Profession Act and represents 5,400 lawyers in private practice in Singapore. The Society carries out various statutory functions including maintaining and improving the standards of conduct and learning of the legal profession of Singapore and other functions.
The BOI was represented by Mr. Duminda Ariyasinghe, Director General of the BOI Mr. Prasanjith Wijayatilake, Executive Director (Investment Promotion), Ms. Nilupul De Silva - Director (Investment Promotion), Mr. Dilip S Samarasinghe - Director (Media & Publicity), Mr. Manilal Ranasinghe - Deputy Director (Investment Promotion).
Mr. Gregory Wijeyendran stated “from the presentation that the BOI made we have got many details of investment opportunities available in Sri Lanka. Some of our clients may be interested in investing and lawyers have the capacity to bring clients to countries such as Sri Lanka.”
He added “Trade is a critical factor in the relations between Sri Lanka and Singapore we look forward to building trade between the two countries. There are considerable synergies between Sri Lanka and Singapore. Singapore is a gateway to South East Asia while Sri Lanka is a gateway to South Asia. Both countries can therefore build up on their excellent connections within their respective regions.”
Singapore has been traditionally an important source of investment to Sri Lanka and many high profile BOI enterprises are in fact Singaporean investments. Singapore is in fact ranked 7th among investing nations with a cumulative FDI of US$ 675 million invested by Singaporean enterprises in the period 2005 up to the first half of 2018.
Among the leading investing enterprises from Singapore currently in Sri Lanka are Overseas Realty (Ceylon) Ltd (high rise buildings including the World Trade Center and Havelock City complex), Prima Ceylon Ltd (grain and flour based products), Heineken Lanka Ltd (Beer and Stout), Leoch Lanka (Pvt) Ltd (Lead acid batteries), Inoac Polymer (Pvt) Ltd (Manufacture of foam – Polythene foam), YKK Lanka (Pvt) Ltd (manufacture of Zippers) Vasan Eye Hospital (specialty eye care) The Lanka Hospital Corporation (Multi – Specialty hospital) and other companies. It is expected that with the Free Trade Agreement, Singaporean investments to Sri Lanka will further increase.
BOI is now focused on attracting enterprises that are engaged in the manufacturing sector as the infrastructure sector is already well established. Sri Lanka is also interested in promoting the services and logistics sectors.
Sri Lanka is committed to building a business environment which is transparent and also seeking investments that would not damage the country’s pristine natural environment. The Singaporean delegation also stated that Singapore has traditionally looked at Sri Lanka as a country which has high quality human resources and several of its members in fact have their origins in the Island.
One of Sri Lanka’s strengths is a transparent business culture which the BOI is fostering and Singaporean investors should deal directly with the BOI to ensure that the best services are provided to the investors.
Dilip S Samarasinghe
Director (Media & Publicity)