Sri Lanka's 2013 FDI Below Government Target

Sri Lanka earned 1.42 billion U.S. dollars in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) but remained shy of the 2 billion U.S. dollar target in 2013, latest Central Bank statistics showed on Tuesday.

FDI inflows through the state run Board of Investment (BOI) that oversees all foreign direct investment into the country amounted to 1.39 billion U.S. dollars, the statistics showed.

"Meanwhile, non-BOI companies received FDI inflows amounting to 22 million U.S. dollars in 2013, in addition 7 million U.S. dollars were received in the form of direct investments in listed companies in Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) which are not registered with the BOI," the Central Bank said.

Accordingly, the total FDI inflows in 2013 amounted to 1.42 billion U.S. dollars, only marginally higher than the 1.38 billion U.S. dollars earned in 2012.

Most investments were grabbed by infrastructure, manufacturing and services sectors that received the highest FDIs in 2013.

China also became Sri Lanka's highest FDI source last year with 24 percent of the investment coming from Chinese companies while 12 percent came from China's Hong Kong.

For 2014 an ambitious target of 2.5 billion U.S. dollars has been earmarked.

Undeterred the BOI has planned eight new investment zones for this year to attract local and foreign investment, to bring in more employment.

Over 1,200 hectares of land have been earmarked for the zones around the country with three being developed in the southern region of Hambantota, which is the electorate of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The BOI has also identified 50 structured projects in 12 key sectors to promote for local and international investment.

"We are confident that these zones will attract investment and provide economic development to rural areas. This is part of the government's long term strategy and will contribute to increasing foreign investment," Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana told reporters recently. (Xinhua)