Sri Lanka’s newly established Investment Management Committee Appointed by the Cabinet of Ministers is to evaluate and fast-track all investment proposals submitted to the government. This marks the latest attempt by the country to streamline its FDI procedures, with its previous utilisation of integrated committees, one-stop shops and single investment windows having met with limited success.
The move follows a relatively fallow period for the country, which has struggled to attract FDI for some years, with the situation having been exacerbated by both the April 2019 terrorist bombings and the Covid-19 crisis. While in 2019 the country attracted US$ 793 million in investment, this fell to US$ 548 million in 2020. It is anticipated that it could fall as low as US$ 200 million for the current year. As an indication of the gravity of the situation, the country has had an import ban in place for several months now in a bid to remedy its shortages of the foreign currency resources which it desperately needs to maintain debt repayments.