The Board of Investment (BOI) as the catalyst and facilitator of investment promotion, is delighted to announce the launch of the Investor Facilitation Centre (IFC), a dedicated space allocated on the 27th floor at the West Tower of the World Trade Centre (WTC) to provide an efficient and seamless service to investors while streamlining the investment approval process and strengthening the interagency coordination.
One of the major impediments identified in attracting and retaining FDI is the unnecessary delays in granting investment approvals that create significant obstacles and transaction costs to investors. Generally, investors seeking to establish operations in Sri Lanka have to obtain approvals from numerous line agencies.
The time taken to grant such approvals depends on the process and procedures followed by each line agency. Also, it has been identified that poor intra-agency coordination has resulted in an inefficient investment approval process with undue delays.
As such, the IFC is deemed to address the unnecessary delays faced by investors and thereby, sustain their confidence.
The IFC structure consists of four units: Information Desk, Application Submission Desk, Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC), and Operational Units (OUS- Investment Inter-Agency Engineering Approvals, Environment, and Legal Departments).
IFC has been set up in a well-organized manner making things comfortable and convenient for investors while it provides them with essentials such as meeting online rooms, information, and application submission desks with a modern business facilitation centre.
It also has a system to assess the performance to compare the efficiency of the process in obtaining line agency approvalswhile it has a mechanism to receive feedback from investors on the service provided.
Moreover, the IFC is a part of the digitization process of BOI where all information on potential investors will be digitally stored in the management information system. Furthermore, since all relevant information on potential investors are stored in the information system, the IFC has been merged with the newly established ‘Partnership Finder’ database system so that investors can find new equity and technology partners for their business.
Commenting on the IFC, State Minister of Investment Promotion DilumAmunugama said,”The concept of a single window for foreign investors is always prioritized by His Excellency Ranil Wickremesinghe. As such, we are taking his policy decision to reality,”
“This concept has a legacy over a century where private sector organizations based in the US and the UK have facilitated their customers through a platform of this nature. Against this backdrop, it is apparent that most of the leading IPAs have borrowed this concept and thus, the BOI has set up the IFC to create a single access point for information and service transactions for investors,” he stated.
“Besides, in the context of the dearth of foreign exchange, Sri Lanka should make sure that whoever comes to the county to start a business should have a flawless experience with respect to registration of their business and continuing the business. As such, it is much auspicious that we have established IFC in coordination with the line agencies with the hope of making the benchmark for Sri Lankan business experience for external partners,” the State Minister pointed out.
“As the apex organization for promoting and attracting FDI, the BOI is always concerned about the convenience of the valued investors who seek to embark on an investment journey with the BOI. It is obvious that every investor wishes to establish a new venture in a pleasant setting, where an efficient service is provided by respective promotion agencies,” said BOI Chief Raja Edirisuriya.
“Having realized the need for an investor to feel comfortable and be able to do all the transactions in one location, a dedicated space was established to offer a one-stop-shop experience for investors,” he underscored.
“Accordingly, we are of the viewpoint that the IFC will be a great enabler that provides the investors with a fruitful and productive service,” the Chairman added.
Meanwhile, BOI Director General Renuka M Weerakone noted “The time-consuming factor on approvals is what compelled us to establish the IFC as the BOI always aims to streamline the business process for a seamless investor experience,”
“This process is not only meant for submitting the application and getting the approval but also translates into inter-agency coordination liaising with representatives of senior officials of any agencies that are required to be part of the approval process. I am sure this will definitely be a harmonious experience for investors,” Ms. Weerakonearticulated.
“Thus, we would like to cordially invite the investors to visit the IFC so as to get an idea of what BOI is offering and how we can assist the investors throughout their journey with the BOI in Sri Lanka,” she added.