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‘No interference in BoI investment project approval process’

Acting Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Mangala Yapa yesterday assured that there is no political interference in the approval process of investment projects.

“Unlike in the past, investment proposals do not go through any non routine channels and all the proposals come to the BOI,” he added.

He was responding to the recent media reports which gave false information on the project to set-up a high speed production plant.

The Acting Chairman said that the BOI deals with all investment projects in a professional and transparent manner.

Explaining the BoI’s investment proposal appraisal process of the BoI, the Acting Chairman said that once a proposal was submitted to the BoI, they do the initial screening and if it is within their terms of references, they can make a decision on that.

But there are complex projects that the BoI could not take decisions and those project proposals will be forwarded to the Single Window Investment Approval Committee (SWIAC).

“The committee has the authority to invite other public authorities who are relevant to the project. It is a holistic screening of the project at the beginning,” he said.

The SWIAC was set up in December 2016 to evaluate and approve large scale investments and fast track approval.

The SWIAC which is chaired by the Treasury Secretary R.S.H.Samaratunga consist of the Economic Advisor to the President S. Rajapathirana, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister R.Paskerlingam, BoI Chairman Dumindra Rathnayake, Tourism Development Authority Chairman Kavan Ratnayaka, BOI Board Member and Technical Advisor to the Minister of Internal Trade Mangala Yapa, Senior Corporate Sector Ajith Gunawardane and BoI Director General Duminda Ariyasinghe.

This committee has met 31 times since then depending on the availability of project committees are summoned. Almost 54 projects were discussed and approval was given to start 26 projects.

Five of these projects have been deferred due to various reasons including insufficient information provided, or issues relating to policy decisions.

If a project is differed that does not mean that the project is thrown to the dustbin. There are few projects that have been rejected.

It goes through a due process.

BOI Director General Duminda Ariyasinghe said that the High Speed Railway Project in question is one of the five of deferred projects where the investor had submitted incomplete information.

It has been submitted to the Single Window Approval Committee twice. But, that it is not rejected.

The investor was informed to submit a complete project proposal with the required information.