OPEN LETTER TO HON MALIK SMARAWICKRAMA AND CENTER FOR DEVELOPMENT Bureaucracy and lethargic attitude of   state agencies is an impediment to development …………..
Posted on June 3rd, 2016

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

Main Issue

After returning from  UK leaving a very lucrative job in Oil and Gas Industry to work in Sri Lanka I  sought  approval from SLPA to establish a shipyard in Galle Harbour to undertake repair and building of Yachts ,Pleasure Crafts and other small boats ,under the Master Plan of Galle Harbour development .

After two years of struggle with the state Bureaucracy, from 2011 to 2013 to get all state approvals and we signed the Business Agreement with SLPA with an Investment from Saudi Arabia .

Due to various incidents happening in the country against Middle Eastern people ,investor pulled out and a new investor in Sri Lanka has expressed interest to continue with the project .

A local blue chip company has undertaken to invest 25 million dollars and sought approval from SLPA to revive the project with blessings from the BOI .

It is almost another one year since the revival program was submitted and the government is dilly dallying in granting permission to re-commence the investment program.

Reason given by SLPA is that new management is planning to hand over the harbour to a new investor to start a marina and the shipyard land given to our investor   is included in the new proposal.

One wonders how can SLPA survive on charging few dollars from Yacht owners ( who survive on Malu Paan from Chun Pan Tuk Tuks’s) coming in few numbers to the Gall Harbour ??

Another Issue

We have also   acquired a 100 perches of land outside the Galle Harbour Shipyard Project Land ,with a different investor and under new company  to commence some boat  building until the Shipyard project materialises.

When the building approval plans were submitted to Galle Municipal Council ,we have been told to get approvals from following agencies.

  • Central Environment Authority ( CEA)
  • Coat conservation Department ( CCD)
  • Sri Lanka Ports Authority ( SLPA )
  • Urban Development Authority ( UDA)
  • National Building Authority ( NBRO)
  • Fishery Corporation
  • Road Development Authority (RDA )

Even though most of the above agencies have no real relevance to the approval and the Land is outside SLPA premises except CEA ,These agencies impose rules to delay the project and not  to allow such an investment to go ahead and taking many weeks to consider approval .

I got EDOB ( ease of doing business ) under the Minister Ravi Karunanayake to intervene regarding RDA involvement but notyhing substantial happened

Dear Minister

We have written many letters and attended meetings but nothing is materialising.

This is a project of national importance which will provide many jobs and generate much needed foreign currency.

Can you Centre for Development call a meeting and help us to proceed with the investment

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

4 Responses to “OPEN LETTER TO HON MALIK SMARAWICKRAMA AND CENTER FOR DEVELOPMENT Bureaucracy and lethargic attitude of   state agencies is an impediment to development …………..”

  1. NeelaMahaYoda Says:


    “After returning from UK leaving a very lucrative job in Oil and Gas Industry to work in Sri Lanka……………”.

    By the way, that company in UK is closed down now after laying-off almost all contract engineers. Now even the building at Greenford is also being converted to a residential apartment block to accommodate refugees from middle east.

    Due to crude oil price crash, the Oil and Gas industry in UK is almost dead. Building of Yachts will soon be a very lucrative industry in Sri Lanka, as there may be more and more boat people trying to escape economic meltdown anticipated in Sri Lanka.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:


    You have my admiration for PERSISTING in pursuing your ventures despite the barriers being raised against them by the GOSL and it’s bureaucrats. The various govt organizations are, in principle, set up to assist entrepreneurs but it fact they become dens of corruption manned by bribe takers. Without a bribe and political influence NOTHING GETS DONE in Sri Lanka.

    About 5 years ago I attended an investment seminar for entrepreneurs designed to jump start technical developments in Sri Lanka. I was interested in developing large scale (gt 20 MW) wind farms in Sri Lanka. I was very enthused after all the hoopla at the meeting. All of that enthusiasm came crashed to the ground after I could not get any cooperation from the various bureaucracies. What was needed was political influence and handing out bribes, which I refused to do not wanting to do ILLEGAL things for ANY REASON!

    Launching a BIG MONEY PROJECT in Sri Lanka is a sure fire way to attract LOCUSTS. Therefore, I have ABANDONED all my big business ideas and I stick to undertaking small scale ventures which do not attract those pests. It enanbles me to complete my projects successfully while preserving my sanity and happiness in the waning days of my life.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:


    Proliferation of Government Bureaucracies is indeed a HUGE IMPEDIMENT to the future development and growth of Sri Lanka.

    That is also why the PROVINCIAL COUNCIL System that inflicts an addition LAYER OF UNNECESSARY BUREAUCRACY on the people, in addition to creating centers of separatism, should be ELIMINATED forthwith!

  4. Sirih Says:

    Sarath, Our family got 2 BOI based industries in SL. Re. your approvals, my understanding is BOI suppose to do or facilitate all those local planning issues, and if not you need to get help from KPMG or similar since in SL , rule of law is one thing but executing that laws are something else.

    I feel for you and I was there for 6 months helping local technical firm and was appalled by the way we do business. I do this for present and future youngsters using tech firms and Moratuwa Uni and hope you will be successful with your endeavour .

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