Aug 19, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government is looking at new markets to attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the country to reach the target of US$ 2 billion set for this year.
Deputy Minister for Investment Promotion, Faizer Mustapha said the government is looking at Turkey, which is the fifth largest economy at present, and Middle East for more FDIs.
"I have visited the Chamber of Commerce in Dubai and a number of other states in the UAE, such as Qatar, where the disposable income is high. Originally, we primarily targeted Europe and the West, but now we're looking at other countries in terms of investment, and we are on the right track," Mustapha said.
"We need space to attract more FDI. People expect everything to happen overnight, but first perception has to change. When people think of Sri Lanka, they still think with the terrorism mindset, remembering incidents which occurred years ago. It is also a customary practice for investors to watch and wait for the first, second and third year after a country gets peace. So we need time," he added.
According to Muthapha, global factors do affect FDI a lot and although the country has won the war and are at peace, the economic factors globally are not great for profits and making investment.
"We have still got some major investors, such as Shangri La and Hyatt, and we have attracted some major players in the tourism industry as well as in the field of infrastructure. So we are confident that we can get that target of US$ 2 billion this year," he noted.
Last year Sri Lanka raked in US$ 1.2 billion in foreign investments and this year's anticipated inflow is a marked improvement over the last year's FDI.
Sri Lanka has 12 Industrial Zones and 8 Free Trade Zones in the country that are not being used to their full extent and according to the World Bank's Doing Business 2013 report the country is one of the ten economies in the world that are improving the most in the ease of doing business and the easiest among the South Asian countries.