May 2, 2013 03:29 pm
Sri Lanka kicked off an international conference here on
Thursday to attract investment and showcase the country as a port hub.
Speaking at the event titled “Sri Lanka Ports, Trade and Logistics Conference”, member of Parliament Namal Rajapaksa who is also the son of the President was upbeat in his call for investors to commit to the burgeoning sector.
Since a three decade war ended in 2009, the Sri Lankan government has ploughed more than 6 billion U.S. dollars into massive investment projects including a 2.5 million U.S. dollar harbor in the south of the country as well as an expansion project for the Colombo port.
Becoming a “port hub” has been a main focus of the Rajapaksa regime that has taken extensive loans to achieve this expensive goal.
However, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has been slow to take off with only 1.3 billion U.S. dollars being attracted in 2012.
“Sri Lanka is seeing a good influx of investment from the high growth economies. Interaction with the local business communities will give you a good idea of the facilities for investment,” Namal Rajapaksa said addressing the investors.
Investment zones have been planned to link with ports in the south and eastern regions of the country with 700 million U.S. dollars already pledged in projects, according to the Ports Authority head Dr. P. Wickrama.
“You will see the rapid expansion of information technology and learn of our target to give the country complete broadband coverage a few years from now. President Rajapaksa is pleased to invite you to travel in Sri Lanka and see the progress that we are making and the opportunities that are opening up for investment, the port sector with the strategic investment and expansion is the gateway to this new land of opportunities,” Nimal Rajapaksa added
Sri Lanka hopes to become a mid-way hub between the Middle East and Singapore by capitalizing on its geographical location, which will also spur economic growth, Xinhua reports.