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SLT gets BOI status

More investments in digital platform:



MORE INVESTMENT: Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama presenting the BOI document to SLT CEO, Shoji Takahashi. Minister of Investment Promotion Naveen Dissanayake looks on.
Picture by Wimal Karunatilake

APPROVED: Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the country's only integrated communications provider received BOI status from the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) enabling them to import and purchase (locally) project related items free of Customs duty.

Minister of Investment Promotion and Enterprise Development Dr. Sarath Amunugama said this has been done to promote more investments from SLT to Sri Lanka and also to create a level playing field among other competitors.

The Minister said letters of BOI status was given to 50 projects representing a total value of over Rs. 58 million in foreign investment and a further Rs. 33 million local investments.

The 50 projects approved represent many sectors such as container services, housing and property development, shopping and office complex, call centers and BPOs, computer development, hotels, restaurant services, IT enabled services, export-import trading houses, fuel, gas and petroleum, power generation plants, building materials, rubber products, garment accessories and other areas. An estimated 8,821 new jobs will be created when the projects are established.

"Under the Mahinda Chinthana, the Government has taken action to promote investment on a large scale to boost economic development," he said.

Chairman BOI Dhammika Perera said BOI has now taken measures to fast-track investment and now has a policy of giving over the counter approvals for projects. "This may be the first time in the world that BOI status is provided over the counter," he said.

A new simplified application form, which is investor friendly, has been introduced replacing the 12-page form the investors had to fill before. "This also costs the investor over Rs. 100,000 to fill from a third party," he said.

CEO SLT, Shoji Takahashi pledged to invest in its digital platform under its Stage III GSM and 3G Expansion to the tune of US $ 225 million within a period of 2 years to develop the telecommunication and data oriented services in Sri Lanka.

He said this would pave the way to rapid development of communications in the country. Sri Lanka Telecom one of the country's most valuable blue chip companies has an annual turnover in excess of Rs. 40 billion.

It was also stated that the BOI was looking at providing further tax holidays for the SLT.

Another important agreement on the SLT approval is a special agreement to develop telephony and data orientated services in Sri Lanka. The value of this agreement is US$ 20 million.

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