26th JUne 2011, www.thebottomline.lk, By Srian Obeyesekere
A high level team of foreign investors will visit Sri Lanka shortly to explore the possibilities of investing in Sri Lanka following an agreement signed between the governments of Sri Lanka and Bahrain at the Finance Ministry in Colombo on Friday.
The agreement, which was signed between Sri Lanka’s Senior Minister for Finance, Dr Sarath Amunugama and the Prime Minister of Bahrain, Ahmed Bin Mohamed Kalitja is expected to make a significant contribution in boosting Sri Lanka’s economy, the minister said.
The agreement between the two countries also covers tax relief covering investors under which the hitherto 20 per cent tax levy on foreign investors has been cut down to 10 per cent applying to both countries, Minister Amunugama announced.
“While the 10 per cent tax reduction in respect of investors from Bahrain to Sri Lanka or vice versa will promote foreign investments, Sri Lanka’s economy will also be boosted with Bahrain opening the doors to Sri Lankan specialised in the fields of technology, teaching, finance and banking, tourism, IT and airlines for whom there is a big demand in Bahrain,” Minister Amunugama said addressing journalists soon after holding discussions with the Bahrain prime minister and stressed that this would add to the foreign exchange revenue impetus from the Middle East amounting to Rs. 6 billion annually.
“Today, a round Rs. 6 billion is remitted annually from an estimated one million Sri Lankan expatriate workers in the Middle East and I must say this has raised the living standards of the villagers who largely benefit by way of starting their own businesses, buying vehicles and building houses,” Minister Amunugama added.
He commented that the demand from Bahrain for Sri Lankan experts was a vindication of Sri Lanka being what he described as ‘the biggest country with people holding diplomas in accounting, ICMA and finance.’
He said that the people of Sri Lanka were so advanced that today, the 21 million population had an equal number of mobile phones.
“There are 21 million mobile phone users in our country which is equal to the population in the country.
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