Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Why is foreign Investment into Sri Lanka still a very chancy affair?

I have had many personal interactions with foreign investors and potential foreign investors into Sri Lanka, and have been privy to many deals, especially of those that have gone sour, in that the potential investor walked away due the actions of usually one individual who because he did not receive what was asked for, effectively unilaterally turned DOWN an extremely valuable proposal for the Country.

When personal interest is put in front of the National Interest, there have been numerous investment opportunities that have gone away. I particularly recall one from the Hungarians, about 10 years ago, which could have completely transformed our ecologically destructive sand mining industry, by using sea sand dredging using huge off shore dredging (unlimited sea sand is available at low cost, if this proposal had passed) and we could have saved over Rs 300 Billion on cost on sand in the economy alone! The investment would have paid for itself 10 times over by now too, therefore with NO cost to the State. The sand miners would have done other jobs that contributed to the economy, and filled the 250,000 vacancies we still have.

Of course one can only imagine what happened there. There were two sets of competing interests that put paid to this ecologically beneficial scheme, one being the existing local sand mining interests, especially the BIG MAFIA with political backing, and you can only guess how high it went, and in that case it was NOT a Rajapakse at the helm of the existing mafia. 

Secondly of course the commission requested, amounted to 50 % of the value of the project, and you can only guess who wanted that! Both these parties were traitors, and the Country is the sufferer, and I don’t understand why it is not a project now in the radar of the “yahapalanaya” government. Are the self interests still the same that prevent such a project from succeeding?  

So when I read the attached article it call came back to me, as there are PERSONAL agendas always, that are put before the National Good, that has lost so much for Sri Lanka. This Government continues to indulge in the same system, despite them professing not to. I wonder if the PM realizes the extent of these barriers to foreign investment, happening right under his nose.

In the above case in the link, we have a renewable energy authority that must keep abreast of the latest in technology in the world, and prepare a national policy statement that addresses this to solve our domestic energy needs, one of the most important policy decisions that this Govt. is NOT making despite statements to the contrary. Let’s do it as a starter, without delay. It is NOT right to give the decision making to the CEB whose knowledge on the latest technology is to say the least, so last century!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let us not destroy our oceans as we have done our rivers with dredging. In this case we were lucky the completing interests prevented this potential calamity but the brosder point is taken