Seamless BOI process for project approvals soon

The Board of Investment (BOI) will have a very seamless process in terms of getting approvals for projects by the third quarter of this year, said Duminda Ariyasinghe, Director General, BOI.He made these remarks addressing the 38th AGM of the Free Trade Zone Manufacturers’ Association (FTZMA) held in Seeduwa on Thursday.Ariyasinghe said this will be implemented in two phases initially dealing with six agencies starting in April and then with 18 other agencies with a total of 24 by September, October this year.

“In fact we had a very detailed meeting with all the Heads of the first six agencies and we are having MoU’s so that there are specific service guarantees by each of these agencies in terms of how long they will take. They will be held answerable and it will be escalated right up to Cabinet level in terms of how this entire system is performing,” he said.

Ariyasinghe said that they were also focusing on developing new export processing zones (EPZ) since substantial work has not been done in setting up EPZs since 2002 and as a result all the current zones were almost full. The BOI Director General said they were currently working on four different zones which were happening simultaneously.“We have had funding from the budget as well as BOI’s own resources. So together we are working to make sure that these zones will be setup in the next two to three years.”

Ariyasinghe said they had already started the land procurement and the most advanced of them was the one in Horana Milleniya which is a 250 acre zone, a joint venture between the BOI and Thailand’s Rojana Group. The government in this year’s budget has allocated over Rs 2.5 billion for these new zones, he said.

In the last few decades there have been many instances where the rules have been changed and the goal posts moved, and that is not what should be happening, he cautioned.

The single window investment approving committee will evaluate proposals in a very objective basis and has set out the basic important parameters of a project including the financial history of the company.This will enable the committee to decide immediately whether it was a project that can go through and can be approved.“ If there are any deficiencies we immediately go back to the investor and tell him what he has to fix and come back to us and we are able to provide an approval to that project,’ the Director General added. Fazal Abdeen, was reappointed as Chairman of FTZMA at the AGM.