May 29, Colombo: Sri Lanka needs US$ 4 billion Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) if it wants to maintain an 8 percent economic growth rate this year Minister of Investment Promotion Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said today.
Addressing a press briefing held in Colombo today, the Minister said this year, the government expects of about US$ 2.0 billion in FDI.
"This year, we are hopeful of getting about US$2.0 billion in FDI, but we need to push it up much more," he told Reuters.
The Minister said Sri Lanka missed its FDI target last year because of bureaucratic delays and protests by certain sections causing difficulty in attracting the investors.
The FDI fell short of its US$ 2 billion target for last year and earned only US$ 1.3 billion.
He pointed out the case of the glove factory in Rathupaswala as an example. He said the government succeeded amid the crisis since the factory could be moved into an economic zone.
The Minister noted that countries like Malaysia and Vietnam offered better conditions for the investors and became highly competitive.
Sri Lanka is expecting to meet the FD target this year from big-ticket investments in the mixed-resort projects - US$ 350 million investment from the Australian gaming tycoon James Packer and the US$ 650 million investment from John Keells and Holdings, but the projects are mired in controversy.
Speaking about delayed Krrish Square mixed development project, the Minister said the project could be offered to another investor in case the present investors failed to move forward.
India's Krrish Group has paid Rs. 4.355 billion to the plot of land where the project would be located and the group is yet to pay the rest of Rs. 639.5 million, the Minister explained.