I note that the above gentleman has been just appointed to the vacant position of the BOI chief after a one year hiatus when the Secretary to the Ministry of Power and Energy, Ferdinando, was temporarily holding this position until a suitable appointment was made.
There were rumors about him and PBJ the Treasury Secretary not getting along, mainly due to the lack of inward investment in 2012, but that is now history.
Let us give the new BOI chief the benefit of the doubt, as I have no clue of his background, except to say that like me, if he has been overseas for 35 years, he would have gained enough experience in knowing what it is that foreign investors want from inward investment to Sri Lanka. The Climate for investment in short!
I am not privy to the terms of his appointment and to the promises made by the Govt. to give into the demands of overseas investors, but I trust he will be able to perform his job sans political interference and without the senior members of the cabal asking for percentages of foreign companies when they invest in Sri Lanka.
I am only too aware of a substantial amount of potential foreign investors who refrained from investing in Sri Lanka when confronted with upfront unconscionable demands of bribes in the form of up to 40% of the total investment cost for them to get permission to invest. Remember that investors take a huge risk in investing in countries such as Sri Lanka when compared to the investment risk of the country. Add to that the cost of payment upfront can make the difference on whether to invest or not, and that is the main reason for the lower investment in 2012. I know the new BOI chief will read this blog entry and will therefore be only too aware of the main obstacle to his fulfilling the expectations placed upon him.
I also hope that he has the courage to get on the blower direct to tell the President the moment such a complaint is made to him from a potential investor to nip such grandiose demands in the bud and tell the asker, even if he is a “son of the same gun” to back off in the interests of the nation.
He must command the respect of the boss, not necessarily his staff, as many mean well but have no clue as to what how they should operate, or what concessions they should give, and the speed with which red tape must be cut, and all regulations cleared, without each bureaucrat asking for his piece of the pie to sign off and not delay authorizations. You will make enemies, but that is your job and the cost of doing it well!!
The courage to think of country, the objectives of the national interest despite all the leeches surrounding you will be tough, but will be most rewarding if you are able to get past the initial backstabbing, especially by those claiming to be your new found friends.
Remember that you have the ability to influence legislation and rules that will be in the interests of attracting increased inward investment, and therefore you can provide a huge service to your motherland. The jobs of the future, the livelihoods of our youth, hope for those who have none, and the eradication of corruption are all challenges you face.
I wish you well.