The AmCham Sri Lankarecently held its30th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and election of Directors. Despite the challenges of the socio-economic and political conditions faced by the business community over the past year,significantly curtailing usual Chamber activities, the Chamber recorded its highest net surplus yet, for the third consecutive year.
Addressing the gathering comprising over 100 member companies, Lakshan Madurasinghe, who was re-elected President for his second year, noted:“When I took on the prestigious mantle of the AmCham Sri Lanka Presidency last year, I shared with you my belief in partnerships – in my fervent desire and hope that through meaningful collaboration with you our members, key stakeholders, and partners we could reach our goals and make a lasting impact. I am proud to state that, through conceptualizing and serving activities, engagements, and most importantly B2G, B2B and B2C connections that have supported your businesses despite the multitude of socio-economic and political challenges over these past years, we have done just that.”
Recognizing efforts at continuing to drive the visionand mandate of increasing trade relationship and investment between the US and Sri Lanka, Madurasinghe, the Regional Head of Public Affairs, Communications, and Sustainability for Coca-Cola in Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives, and Bhutan was elected President for his second term by the membership, whilst Shirendra Lawrence representing MAS Holdings, was elected Vice President, NilupaKiringoda representing Sysco LABS was elected Secretary, and DimanthaSeneviratna representing NDB Bank Group was elected Treasurer.
Speaking about the projects and initiatives in the pipeline for 2022/23, Madurasinghe stated: “As I reflected on the challenging times we face and the journey ahead of us; my mind and thoughts gravitated very strongly to the concept of ‘Responsibility’. I truly believe that we have the responsibility to make a lasting difference in our motherland, Sri Lanka, both individually and collectively. Attracting Foreign Direct Investment is vital to bridge the domestic savings-investment gap for a country like Sri Lanka. A net of over USD 3 Billion flows into the Sri Lankan economy each year through trade with the US. The US is Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner, and AmCham Sri Lanka intends to play a pivotal, catalytic role in attracting not only US FDI, but US Reinvestment too.”
He continued:“That is why AmCham SL over the next 24 months in particular will focus our resources, our influence, power, and energy primarily towards driving investments in Sri Lanka as investment promotion is undoubtedly key to our economic recovery and the growth of this nation.”
The Chief Guest at the AmCham AGM 2022 was the Ambassador of the United States of America to Sri Lanka, Her Excellency Julie J. Chung, who made the keynote address. And the Guest of Honour, Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe expressed his appreciation toward US businesses operating in Sri Lanka
As a teaser to its INVESTMENT SPOTLIGHT initiative to be launched later this year, AmCham launched an aptly titled dedicated webpage that spotlights Sri Lankan and US companies looking to forge bilateral partnerships through technical, operational, and/or financial means.
Introducing the initiative, AmCham SL General Manager Vrai Raymond stated: “Working together with collaborative partners, the US-Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce in New York,Sri Lanka @100, and the USAID MSME Development Program – PSD in Colombo, this webpage will provide a platform for pre-screened companies and projects to call EOI and RFPs for credible investment and partnership opportunities for establishment and or expansion in to either Sri Lanka or the US.”
Commenting on this initiative, Director General of the Board of Investment, Ms. Renuka Weerakoon stated: “Attracting investment, in the current context, is a priority for Sri Lanka as it is the best non-debt source of FOREX inflow. Having recognized that the global FDI trend is also more towards re-investment as opposed to greenfield, the BOI has undertaken various measures to support our enterprises to reinvest and operate relatively smoothly. This is why I wish to place on record my sincere appreciation of this initiative – which is a timely intervention – and we look forward to working together with AmCham to attract FDI from the US, which can be leveraged for the economic resurgence of Sri Lanka.”