Posted on July 17th, 2016

 Sarath Obeysekera (A disgusted Investor )

BOI has released a paper in Jun 2016 called  STRUCTURED PROJECT PROPOSALS for investment with  a list of projects available in Sri Lanka for investors to mobilize various amounts of money ranging from 5 million Dollars to 100 million .Crown land in various part of the island is offered to investors to locate the project

For an example, lands in Kalpiitiya.Bentota, Trincomalee, and a Hambantota etc. are offered for investment in Tourism related projects.

It also says that land to be offered on long term basis but the duration is not indicated .It can be 30 years or 99 years .Depending on lease extent investor has to decide viability of the project.

BOI does not say all the facts related to approval process of leasing Crown Land .The need to go to Cabinet Subcommittee for initial approval etc. . . .

Again BOI says that Government Valuer decides the lease value of the land and the investors have no clue what so ever, how the Chief Valuer provides the valuation for the land  .

BOI and Sri Lanka Tourism should get valuations from the Chief Government Valuer and indicate approximate lease value depending the lease period.

Another problem faced by the investor is how long value takes to give the valuation (Valuation Department is so bureaucratic an understaffed and they take over six months to give a valuation)

With the FCID hovering around and breathing on their necks valuers are so careful to give a figure as they are feared that they may be called to clarify.

If the value is high investor will run away and if it low FCID may call him!

In one of the project FCID called even the chartered surveyor who carried out the land survey to testify!!

Investor cannot make a direct request t Government Valuer for a valuation. Request should be made by the State Agency who holds the Crown Land…

Investors have to carry out financial feasibility without knowing the value of the land .In an  area like Kalpitiya there are over 1000 Ha offered with no details of approximate land value and availability of power water etc.

Investor who comes to Sri Lanka will take one year to find out the details and when the BOI approval is granted after registering the company, Investor has to wait until Cabinet approves the project which may take another 6 -12 months .

Recently such proposal initiated by an Investor after spending many years has been turned down by the cabinet.

BOI should obtain valuation from the Government Valuer and publicize the figures beforehand and also indicate the time taken from initiation of the project to commencement of construction

We had bitter experience when we wanted to invest in a tourism related project in Galle Harbour

It took one years to submit the cabinet paper after SCARC approval and, another one year to carry out Environment Impact Assessment

Another six months to get Attorney Generals’ approval to sign the lease agreement. !

It took three years to sign the agreement and the Investor bolted away after signing complaining about the bureaucracy .Now we are trying to revive the project with another investor for the last six months and future is bleak.

There is no meaning to have Megapolis, BOI, and Sri Lanka Tourism, Centre for Strategic development etc. unless government clears all the obstacles detailed above.

First of all Government Chief Valuer position should be abolished and a Special Agency with a mandate from the Cabinet should be appointed to provide valuations for the lands depending on the amount of investment and the other tangible benefits like providing employment, amount of foreign currency to be earned within the project period, and the carbon foot print of the project.

Sarath Obeysekera

(A disgusted Investor )


  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Dr Obeysekera,

    Thank you for this article.

    You are a seasoned investor giving an Opinion on the topic of investing in Lanka. Please let us know what you think of many Free Trade Zones on the island, where the basic amenities such roads, water & electricty are made ready for the investor, with an idea on what type of investments are required and what the lease period is, etc., rather than the BOI proposal to lease out land in various undeveloped areas for the purpose of tourism related projects.

    The pluses from FTZs: Many FTZs will give job opportunities to all groups in Sri Lanka which is a must at present. Many FTZs will also contribute to prevent the splitting up Lanka. Jobs and Security are what our people want.

    I am only a concerned Observer of events in Lanka and not an investor.

  2. S.Gonsal Says:

    Obstacles are created to make some people rich by taking bribes. One investor has been asked for a huge bribe by a minister of current government ( who was also in the previous government). Investor has gone to BOI instead and getting approval.

  3. Nimal Says:

    You are absolutely right,they take bribes and ask favours to do anything or invest in the island.
    From the time of JR this is the normal practice.
    We must study the way the government and various depts. carry out their businesses in UK.
    We are (UK) the best example of good country. Last week I truly felt sorry for Cameron who left no 10 in a dignified way, for a mistake he made for asking for a referendum and failing which he left his job in a dignified way.
    Our people and our cultures are light years behind UK,a culture where MR was boastful during Camaron’s visit to SL.
    MR being the Prez could have stopped Cameron going up to Jaffna where his true business was in the capital.
    It is truly alarming how UK had allowed billions of foreign capital to enter and invest in UK.
    Today a very valuable British high tech company named ARM holding is allowed to be sold to a foreign company, though I have tripled my share value of that company, I am not celebrating my gain as the outcome of the takeover will have dire consequences to UK in the long run.
    By all means we must allow foreign investment and progressive foreigners in our country that would enhance us in many ways but to allow corruption in a deal or venture should not be accepted.

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