Colombo: The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Coast Conservation & Coastal Resources Management Department.
The MOU was signed on behalf of the BOI by Mrs. Champika Malalgoda, Director General of the BOI and by Mr. B K Prabath Chandrakeerthi, Director General of the Coast Conservation & Coastal Resources Management Department.
The signing of the MOU by the Coast Conservation and Coastal Resources Management Department is very significant as approvals by this body are vital for projects in the tourism sector and also those related to the mining of mineral sands.
This agency is the 13th State body to sign the MOU covering the Single Window Investment Facilitation Task force (SWIFT).
The signing was done under two phases. So far the agencies that have joined SWIFT are the following:
Coast Conservation & Coastal Resource Management, Department of Wildlife Conservation, Sri Lanka Land Reclamation & Development Corporation (SLLRDC), Department of Registrar of Companies, Urban Development authority, Sri Lanka Customs, Department of Inland Revenue, Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB), Department of Immigration and Emigration, National Dangerous Drug Control Board (NDDCB) and Department of Import & Export Control (DIEC).
Other State agencies involved in the investment process will follow.
The purpose of SWIFT is to fast track investments through a virtual one stop shop. The concept of the One Stop Shop has been existence for a very long time but has traditionally relied on the presence of officers of other agencies assigned to the BOI One Stop Shop, to help to facilitate projects. However, due to other factors it is sometimes difficult to obtain the participation of representatives from the relevant line agencies, whose additional approval are needed for a project to be started.
In the current system which was approved under a Cabinet Memorandum issued by the Cabinet of Ministers of Sri Lanka, all agencies that are party to the MOU are connected through an online connection which makes it possible to act on a project proposal without the requirement of being physically present at the BOI�s One Stop Shop.
This is particularly crucial since some projects may require up to 14 approvals or permits and any investor who would have to physically go to all these Ministries would be deterred by the excessive bureaucracy involved.
Advances in the field of IT have made it possibly to create a Central Authority without necessitating the presence of officials at a dedicated office.
The BOI therefore is confident that the continual development and implementation of SWIFT would encourage investors to invest in Sri Lanka as the process is considerably simplified and the new system would also provide greater information and additionally be much more transparent.
The introduction of this new system will therefore facilitate considerably the process of investing in Sri Lanka. Furthermore it utilizes cutting edge technology and promotes the establishment of an investor friendly environment. It will contribute towards the country achieving the targeted FDI inflows of US$ 2.1billion by the end of 2019.
Line agencies that sign the SWIFT Agreement are agreeable to grant approval to investors within a short timeframe.