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Tips on investing in the booming Sri Lankan economy

Sri Lanka’s post-war economy is booming. The peaceful environment is luring large scale investment as well as an influx of tourists from around the world, brining in the much needed foreign currency.

A $1 billion sale of sovereign dollar bonds last month was more than seven times oversubscribed. According to the Central Bank the country’s $50 billion gross domestic product is set to increase 8.5 percent this year, up from eight percent in 2010. The government has also pledged to spend $1 billion annually for at least three years from 2010 on projects such as a coal-fired power plant, a four-lane expressway and a container shipping hub.

Following are some helpful tips and guidelines to assist any prospective investor who is looking to start any type of business in Sri Lanka.

First, you should undertake a feasibility study relating to your business. Some of the lucrative sectors that a small or medium scale investor could invest are: Tourism including Hotels and Restaurants, Real Estate Development, Garment Technology, Agriculture, Software Development, Exports and Call Center Operations.

The Board of Investment (BOI) is the official governing body promoting investment. You can find information
relating to the economy and opportunities available, especially for large and medium scale investments, as well as the procedure to follow in setting up a BOI venture.

The BOI Web addresses: or

BOI local Address: World Trade Centre, West Tower, Colombo 1, Sri Lanka.
Tel: +94 112386953, +94 112427033

Another useful source of information is the Registrar of Companies. You can find all the information relating to the registration of a company as well as download the necessary forms required for this purpose.

Since there are many laws that are applicable in the setting up and operating any type of business, its best to consult a reputed lawyer to guide you from the inception itself. Your attorney would determine which laws are applicable to you; what permits you require to commence business; where to go to comply with the various rules and regulation as well as advice you on the prevailing labor laws. The BOI may provide you with information relating to hiring a lawyer or a law firm to represent your organization.

With the dawning of peace, the tourism sector has shown a remarkable growth and is regarded as one of the most lucrative areas of investment – be it a hotel, restaurant, travel agency, night club, or any travel or leisure related enterprise.

You can visit the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Website: . It gives comprehensive information about all aspects of the industry as well as a step-by-step guide as to how to process your investment proposal or application.

SLTDA Address: No. 80, Galle road, Colombo 03, Sri Lanka.
Telephone : +94 112426900 / 2437055/59/60 Fax : +94 112 440001 / 2426984 E mail :

If you are interested in investing in the export sector, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (commonly known as the EDB) is the place to visit. It is the premier state organization dealing with the promotion and development of exports and functions under the Ministry of Industry & Commerce.

EDB Website:
Local Address: Sri Lanka Export Development Board, No. 42 Nawam Mawatha, Colombo-02, Sri Lanka.
Phone: 94-11-2300705 / 11 Fax: 94-11-2305211 E-mail:

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