Obstacles to business must be addressed: Japanese envoy 

Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Akira Sugiyama has welcomed an invitation extended to the Japanese biz community to invest in industrial zones across Sri Lanka while urging the government to address prevailing bottlenecks when it comes to doing business in Sri Lanka – so as to promote Japanese investment in the island.

Speaking at a meeting of the Japan-Sri Lanka Government-Private Joint Forum recently, Sugiyama pointed to Sri Lanka’s potential to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) given its central location along East-West shipping routes, proximity to a rapidly growing Indian subcontinent, and the diligence and high level of education amongst its people.

However, he emphasised that hindrances such as sudden revisions to guidelines on government tender procedures, changes in the tax system without prior notice, delays in tax refunds, and a lack of transparency and coordination between government institutions must be addressed to attract more Japanese investments.

Reiterating the importance of strengthening business relations, the ambassador noted that trade volumes between the two countries had increased by nearly 30 percent between 2014 and 2018.

The 11th meeting of the forum convened at the Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka recently. It was attended by Chairman of the BOI Mangala Yapa, members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Sri Lanka (JCCISL), and other officials and representatives from government agencies of both nations.