The Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka provides assistance and advice throughout the investment process. It is structured to function as a central facilitation point for investors, which is committed towards improving the country’s investment climate. Completing more than 38 years of existence in Sri Lanka, Board of Investment has created a considerable impact on the country’s economic development. Having the vision of making Sri Lanka the most preferred destination for sustainable investment in Asia BOI is working towards attracting and securing sustainable investments for optimum utilization of resources and talents, through vigorous promotion and excellent investor facilitation whilst preserving harmony with the natural environment as a significant contributor in the development of the national economy. The Sri Lankan Government has taken a significant decision to introduce a global standard virtual platform to improve the business climate in the country and encourage investment, providing a permanent solution for an inter-agency formal partnership, with a performance monitoring and evaluation system.
This project is initiated by the Sri Lankan Government approved by the cabinet of Ministers with technical assistance from the World Bank and implemented by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka. The Board of Investment decided to launch a web portal to streamline and fast track the investment approval process by interconnecting the first six line agencies under a single window virtual platform. By having this, they need to set a permanent solution for inter-agency formal partnership. BOI, the apex Government agency for promoting and facilitating both foreign and local direct investment in priority sectors, entered four memoranda of understanding (MoUs) to setup a Single Window Investment Facilitation Taskforce (SWIFT) with the Inland Revenue Department, Registrar of Companies, Sri Lanka Customs and Urban Development Authority, while the other two-line agencies, Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) and Central Environment Authority (CEA), has signed the MoU as well. The solution would be a collective effort by all live agencies to meet the national requirement. Accordingly, SWIFT interconnects investors and line agencies under one virtual platform. It will facilitate information sharing and rapid progression of the projects.
Finally, it would help increase information transparency for regulating processes between the investor and regulatory agencies. In phase 1, these first six line agencies will be interconnected under a single window virtual platform with the BOI. And the BOI will be extending this to 18 more line agencies and assist a total of 24, which will comprise most of approvals that are necessary for foreign companies planning to establish themselves in Sri Lanka.
“During the first four months of this year, the BOI has approved projects up to a value of $1.348 billion, and another $1.4 billion are in the pipeline to be approved before 30 June. Altogether, $2.75 billion worth of investments will come to Sri Lanka in the near future,”- Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama. He believes the launch of SWIFT will be one of the most fast-tracked systems in the region, which will give more confidence to the BOI in its efforts to facilitate and attract investments to Sri Lanka. According to the views of BOI Chairman Dumindra Ratnayaka, the SWIFT was launched with a view to strengthen the one-stop-shop (OSS) at BOI, simplifying the processes further by this virtual platform. “The purpose of SWIFT is to fast-track investments through a virtual OSS. I strongly believe with the SWIFT, we will be able to provide services more efficiently and transparent,” he said. BOI Director General Duminda Ariyasinghe pointed out the three objectives of SWIFT were to implement virtual platform for investor services, process simplification and increase information transparency. “It is important for us to ensure the investment approval process happens in the most customer investor friendly manner. The six agencies have already committed for service delivery, and we will have a traffic light system to monitor the lapses on our part,” he stated.
SWIFT is about to change the way Sri Lanka does things locally and globally. It will help facilitating investment into Sri Lanka and lead to happier investors. Through it, we will achieve the Government’s vision, greater one standard investment through better service delivery. SWIFT will swiftly take all the future.