Sri Lanka to get 2 to 3 billion USD of investment in 2017: PM

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Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Wednesday the island country was expecting 2 to 3 billion U.S. dollars worth of investment in 2017.

The prime minister said many international investors were now looking at Sri Lanka as a ideal investment hub.

Speaking to reporters in the capital, Wickremesinghe said that 2017 was a crucial year for investments to come in and this would pave the way for Sri Lanka to strengthen itself in the Indian Ocean region.

He said this year Sri Lanka was expecting to sign an Economic and Trade Agreement (ETCA) with India and also a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China and Singapore.

He further said that Sri Lanka was also discussing an FTA with Pakistan and Bangladesh which would be finalized soon.

"We want to develop Sri Lanka, especially as an export oriented economy aiming at job creation and income increments," Wickremesinghe said.

He further said that with the Indian Ocean region becoming the fastest growing region in the word, Sri Lanka had to use its strategic location to become a communication center for shipping, airlines, business and expand its markets through FTAs and the ETCA.

The prime minister said that Sri Lanka was confident of regaining the GSP plus from the European Union this year and this too would benefit the island country's export sector.

"We are aiming a market of 4 billion dollars for our export market. Initially even if we get 1 percent or half a percent of that, it is more than enough for our rapid growth."

Sri Lanka is also seeking to develop the South West Corridor which will be the largest corridor next to the Mumbai-Delhi corridor, which will include two airports and two harbours.

The sub corridor in the hill country will develop the country's tourism, agriculture and tea and the north east corridor will develop the the economy in the north and east.

The prime minister denied reports of any political uncertainty in the country and remained firm that the present national government would continue to implement all the development projects in order to make Sri Lanka an international hub. Endit

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