FDI promo campaign soon; no cancellations so far

Exact impact on investments to become clear only in 2Q report

The Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, together with the Board of Investment (BOI), is in the process of planning an investment promotional campaign to ensure an uninterrupted flow of foreign direct investment (FDIs) in the prevailing situation.

Speaking to The Sunday Morning Business, International Trade Deputy Minister Nalin Bandara stated that the Ministry would initiate the campaigns within a month once the country returns to normalcy.

However, he said it was premature to disclose the details of the campaigns as they were still in the planning stage.

According to Bandara, there have been no cancellations of finalised FDIs or those that were in the pipeline.

“Settled ones remain settled still. So far, we have not come across any sort of withdrawals,” he said, adding that even though the attacks would have a short-term impact in FDIs, there will be no need to revise the FDI target of $ 3 billion set for 2019.

Meanwhile, speaking to The Sunday Morning Business, BOI Director General Champika Malalgoda noted that FDI surveys were done only on a quarterly basis, stating that it would be difficult to assess the impact just two weeks into the attack.

“For FDIs, we collect the data through a survey which will be done quarterly. We don’t receive FDIs daily. It is something we collect from the investors from online sources.”

The country received $ 2.3 billion in FDIs last year, the highest ever, which was however still below the target of $ 2.5 billion expected for the year.

According to statistics, at the end of the quarter ended on 31 March, BOI approved an estimated $ 5.1 billion in investments, of which $ 4.9 billion was FDIs while the rest was local investments.

The FDIs include the widely popular oil refinery in Hambantota which is a $ 3.85 billion joint venture between India-based Accord Group and Omani state-controlled Oman Oil Co. It also consists of a steel plant project valued at $ 1 billion in Trincomalee.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board organised an outward trade mission to Central Europe covering Hungary and Poland in parallel to the first session of the Sri Lanka Hungary Joint Commission held in Budapest.

A total of seven private companies representing sectors of food and beverage, wellness tourism, coconut products, tea, and water management participated in this outward mission in order to strengthen bilateral trade relations.

The business forum was followed by the B2B meetings held from 23-26 April in Hungary and Poland, during which the Sri Lankan delegation had the added advantage of joining the official delegation to the Joint Commission which were initially provided the opportunity to organise this mission.

More than 45 Hungarian companies attended the forum and more than 30 B2B meetings were conducted. High interest was shown in food products, wellness tourism, and coconut products.
Following this, the Sri Lanka Embassy in Poland and the Polish Chamber of Commerce organised the business forums and B2B meeting programmes, and more than 40 B2B meetings were conducted in Warsaw.

During this outward mission to Hungary and Poland, our participants discussed with their counterparts different options of partnerships. It was identified that the Central European market was a more affordable and reachable market for Sri Lanka. During this mission, the Sri Lankan trade delegation was afforded the opportunity to develop business sales leads, joint ventures, and distributorships in both countries.