Invest in East’, the First International Investment Forum of Eastern Sri Lanka
Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director, IPS was the Key Note Speaker at the ‘Invest in East’ Forum, organized by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Production and Development, Rural Industries Development, and Fisheries of the Eastern Province, in collaboration with the Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Investment Promotion at the Hotel Taj Samudra, Colombo, on 17th January 2014.
The Forum, which was the first international investment promotion event focusing on Eastern Sri Lanka, drew a full house audience including about 200 local and foreign investors representing over 25 countries in addition to top government officials present.
In his Key Note Address, Dr. Kelegama highlighted that ‘with the East being one of the most diverse and resourceful provinces in Sri Lanka there is immense potential present in the region that is yet to be tapped.’ ‘With the East currently contributing approximately 25% of the national rice production, 20% of fish production, and 15% of milk production’, Dr. Kelegama opined these areas could be further explored. During the war years it was noted that only half of the cultivable paddy land in the east was made use of. With regard to fish production, ocean and inland lagoon fishing were restricted. Despite having the largest cattle population in Sri Lanka, milk production was far below potential. These were just few areas pointed out where more could be done.
Nevertheless the situation improved with the ‘Reawakening of the East’ (Nagenahira Navodaya) being launched in 2007 that focused greatly in improving infrastructure such as electricity, water, housing, and rebuilding of roads to name a few. While the foundation is laid for lucrative businesses to kick-off or further extend, Dr. Kelegama identified as ideal for investments, five key areas which are agriculture and agribusiness, extractive industries and resource-based manufacturing, fisheries and aquaculture, leisure and tourism, and animal production and livestock.’ Hon. Basil Rajapaksa, Economic Development Minister was the Chief Guest at the Forum.
Daily News – 17th January 2014
Daily Mirror – 20th January 2014
DailyFT – 22nd January 2014