The Sri Lanka Board of Investment (BOI) and six regulatory bodies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and launched the single window investment facilitation taskforce (SWIFT) making it easy for the local and foreign investors to invest in Sri Lanka.
The BOI signed the MOU with the Department of Registrar of Companies, the Inland Revenue Department, Sri Lanka Customs, the Central Environmental Authority, the UDA and the Colombo Municipal Council under the patronage of Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama in Colombo yesterday (30th).
At present, the investors who envisage to commence their operational activities in Sri Lanka, are supposed to obtain around 14 approvals or permits from various Government Institutions and the lengthy period taken for the process discourage the investors.
Under the agreement all line ministries, government agencies and investors would be inter-connected through technology to set up a ‘one-stop shop’ to provide investors with all the necessary approvals and facilities needed to establish a business efficiently.
Speaking at the event Minister Samarawickrema said by providing a more efficient service to the foreign direct investors will bring in 20 percent more investments. Minister Samarawickrama said that it is vital to win the trust of the foreign investors which will directly help to increase the private sector investments and increase export earnings and it the responsibility of the government to provide facilities to foreign investors.
He said the SWIFT will help an investor to register his investment and get all approvals online and without even visiting the BOI or any other relevant department. The Minister said he expects the SWIFT to help clear red tape affecting investment and cut investment lead-time by 20 percent at the initial stage. Another 18 agencies will be joining SWIFT by the end of this year making it more efficient in the future, he added.
Minister also said that the new virtual portal would also help Sri Lanka to improve on the Global Doing Business Index as well. BOI chairman Dumindra Ratnayake said the SWIFT will create a virtual platform where investors will be facilitated to invest in Sri Lanka with great transparency and efficiency.