News

Mass resignations at BOI: Limping without top brass?

 

  • We are continuing with our duties: BOI
  • Only did oversight summons of BOI: COPE 

 

By Uwin Lugoda

The Board of Investment (BOI) Sri Lanka is yet to receive the necessary directions on proceeding with operations following the mass resignation of several senior officials at the Board, The Sunday Morning learnt.

When questioned on how the BOI will function following the resignation of its Chairman, Director General, and several board directors, an official at the BOI told The Sunday Morning that they would continue their duties.

However, the official was noncommittal when asked how certain investment proposals could proceed without the participation of senior officials.

Issuing a statement about the resignations, the BOI blamed both internal and external factions that opposed necessary transformations happening within the BOI. They stated that these factions either failed or refused to comprehend the competitive realities of the international promotion landscape, in which Sri Lanka needs to compete if it is to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) at the scale the country needs. “Unfortunately, the efforts of the leadership to achieve this urgently required transformation were strongly and continuously resisted by isolated factions both within and outside the organisation who have put their self-interest over the public.

“The Chairman, members of the Board of Directors, and Director General assumed office with the singular intent of supporting the President’s vision to double Sri Lanka’s GDP in this decade. In line with this, the BOI’s role in transforming the country into a preferred investment destination by creating a compelling investment climate arose through the conceptualisation and execution of strategic and proactive investment promotions,” the BOI stated.

However, despite the unfortunate developments, the BOI stated that its leadership remains confident about the significant potential their reforms programme can provide to support Sri Lanka’s economic progress in the future if it is continued to its natural culmination.

The misconception mentioned came in the form of the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) summoning, which inquired about the BOI recruiting a number of officials at very high salary levels and misleading the Cabinet, it is learnt.

However, COPE Chairman Prof. Charitha Herath stated that the committee never asked anybody to resign, and instead only did their oversight summons for the BOI. He explained that during the summons, COPE members inquired about all the points made in the Auditor General’s report, which was regarding both the previous and current governments’ periods.

He stated that regardless of whose time it was, the incumbent officers have to answer and that there were no issues with their summons.

“From the COPE’s point of view, we didn’t ask anybody to resign or even recommend any resignations. What we did was recommend the BOI fulfill some of the official requirements for our recommendations. Our members gave varying recommendations based on the Auditor General’s report,” Herath explained.

The entire BOI Director Board and its Chairman resigned from their posts last Thursday (2) via a letter sent to the Presidential Secretariat.

The resignation of Chairman Sanjaya Mohottala, board members Harsha Subasinghe, Dr. Harsha Cabral, Sanjaya Kulatunga, and Jayamin Pelpola, were reported first, followed by reports of the resignation of BOI Director General Pasan Wanigasekara.

None of the resignees were available for comment.