Colombo: new businesses coming up in northern Sri Lanka will create over 1,300 jobs in the former war zone which is still recovering from the violence and where unemployment is high.
The Board of Investment said among the new investments in the northern province are a Chinese aquaculture project, power plants and a hotel.
The region has much potential and opportunities remain untapped owing to the effects of the 30-year ethnic war that ended in 2009, the investment promotion agency, which has an office in Jaffna said.
“In spite of these challenges the BOI places high priority in investment in the north as this effort is more than just development and part of the process of strengthening inclusiveness and reconciliation in the country,” a statement said.
Twenty-one existing businesses approved by the BOI employ 8,754 people with 14 new ones to add 1,388 new jobs.
Existing businesses include six apparel factories which represent an investment of Rs8 billion and employ 7,917 workers.
Another 15 projects in different sectors are also operational and represent investments of Rs16.3 billion and
provide employment to 837 workers in the Northern Province.
The BOI said two new projects are awaiting commercial operation, five awaiting implementation, two have been approved and awaiting the signing of agreements and another five projects are awaiting approval.
“When all these 35 BOI projects in the north become operational, the total investment will be around Rs46,484 million, which will result in a cumulative total of 10,142 jobs.”
The six operating apparel plants are Omega Line Ltd in Rasinthinankulam (Vavuniya), Hirdaramani Fashion (Pvt) Ltd (Vavuniya), Hirdaramani Clothing (Pvt) Ltd., Puthukkudiyiruppu (Mullaitivu), Timex Garments (Pvt) Ltd (Mannar), and MAS Active (Pvt) Ltd and MAS Intimates (Pvt) Ltd both in Killinochchi.
The apparel manufacturing plants cumulatively employ 7,917 staff and represent an investment of US$65 million.
In addition there are 15 other BOI projects that are operational which are involved in the manufacture of ice, fishing nets, mesh products, artificial flowers and concrete products in addition to hotels, health care and power generation.
Their total value is Rs16,293 million and the projects have created 837 jobs in the Northern Province.
The largest in investments terms is the Northern Power Company (Pvt) Ltd with a total value of Rs5,600 million.
In employment generation terms the Northern Central Hospitals (Pvt) Ltd project has created 278 new job opportunities.
Hotels built in the Northern Province as BOI projects are the Tilko Jaffna City Hotel, the Yarl Hotels (Jetwing) Pvt Ltd., and The Thempa Tourist Hotel (Pvt) Ltd.
“The interest in tourism to the Northern Province, particularly to the Jaffna Peninsula, has spurred the construction of hotels in the province in recent years,” the BOI said.
An aquaculture project to be developed in the Mannar district will be involved in breeding of prawns and is a collaboration between Sri Lankan and New Zealand business interests.
Two new windpower plant, namely Julipower and Beta Power, are operating along with solar power plant, Wydexa Power. Two more windpower projects in the Jaffna Peninsula are planned.
Another company Shakthi Agro Industries, a joint US-Sri Lanka investment is to manufacture coco peat for the export market and will be located in the Pallai area of the Jaffna Peninsula. This project is awaiting commercial operation.
There is also New Silk Road Aquaculture, a Chinese investment of Rs. 425 million in aquaculture.
Several projects that are awaiting approval include Build Cement (Pvt) Ltd which will be manufacturing partition sheets out of cement and fiber, whose owners are based in Jaffna. This is a subsidiary of Mascon Sri Lanka Company and the value of investment will be US$ 22 million.
AMP Ceylon Ltd is manufacturing ornamental items using local natural material for export purpose.
A planed new hotel in Jaffna is called Arn Mannai (Kings Palace). A new hospital in Vavuniya has been approved and is to be built shortly.