The Report: Sri Lanka 2017

  • ID: 4437456
  • Country Profile
  • Region: Sri Lanka
  • 224 Pages
  • Oxford Business Group
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Structural and political issues have held back foreign investment in Sri Lanka in the past, but with new free trade agreements in the pipeline, and a government committed to attracting global investors to drive economic growth, the outlook is improving.

The high-end segment of Sri Lanka’s residential real estate sector looks to be heading towards a period of consolidation and flat returns on the back of a sharp increase in supply.

Estimates suggest up to 5000 luxury homes will make their way onto the local market between now and 2020, with supply peaking next year when 2800 units are scheduled for completion. The influx of available properties is expected to test market demand, with speculation rising that developers may be forced to lower prices in the short to medium term to maintain sales activity and revenue flows.

Planned measures to curb lending to the sector may well put prices under added pressure. However, foreign interest in the country’s luxury housing projects has the potential to increase.

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COUNTRY PROFILE
Wonder of Asia: With peace comes potential and progress
Interview: President Maithripala Sirisena
Interview: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
Future focus: The country looks to strengthen trade and international relations

TRADE & INVESTMENT
Game plan: A raft of new trade deals is set to unlock economic potential
Interview: Ban Ki-moon, Former Secretary-General, UN
Interview: Malik Samarawickrama, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade
Attracting investment: New initiatives will refocus efforts to increase foreign direct investment
Interview: Lim Hng Kiang, Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade)
Interview: Upul Jayasuriya, Chairman, Board of Investment
Across the strait: Business stands to benefit from further cooperation with the country’s large neighbour
Interview: Peter Wong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation
Interview: Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group
The bigger, the better: Plans are set to develop the greater Colombo region into an economic powerhouse

ECONOMY
Growing momentum: To ensure continued expansion, the government is realigning economic policy and tackling weaknesses
Looking for work: While overall unemployment is low, there is disparity between the genders and levels of education
Interview: Ravi Karunanayake, Minister of Finance
Interview: Samantha Ranatunga, Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
Funding the future: A recent IMF deal aims to bring the country up to its economic potential through benchmarks and reforms
Interview: Tilak De Zoysa, Chairman, Carson Cumberbatch

BANKING
Big picture: The sector is expected to see continued growth and profitability
Interview: Indrajith Coomaraswamy, Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka
A developing segment: Microfinance institutions receive more regulation and options to expand their services for underserved households
Interview: Jim McCabe, CEO, Standard Chartered Sri Lanka

CAPITAL MARKETS
Positive measures: Building a stronger, sophisticated and transparent marketplace
Interview: Dilshan Wirasekara, CEO, First Capital
New momentum: Global interest in sovereign bonds suggests growing investor confidence

INSURANCE
Streamlining the market: Steady premium expansion continues, while new rules are expected to result in stronger players
Interview: Hemaka Amarasuriya, Chairman, Sri Lanka Insurance
A new regime: Changing regulations look to deepen and strengthen the sector

INDUSTRY & RETAIL
Gearing up: Efforts have been made to modernise the sector and open markets
Interview: Indira Malwatte, Chairwoman, Sri Lanka Export Development Board
Interview: Ashok Pathirage, Chairman and Managing Director, Softlogic Group
In the fast lane: Retailers see rising demand for fast-moving consumer goods
Interview: Dilith Jayaweera, Chairman, George Steuart Group
Clothing the world: New measures aim to bolster the textiles and garments sector
More choice: The rapidly growing retail sector is attracting new entrants as the number of malls increases

TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS
Grand designs: Major upgrades to ports and roads are in the works, with the aim of bolstering Sri Lanka’s position as a centre for transport
On the move: A new trans-shipment facility, road network improvements and Customs reforms look set to give the sector a boost
Interview: Dammika Ranatunga, Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority
Interview: Kasturi Chellaraja, Managing Director for Pharmaceuticals, Logistics and Maritime, Hemas Holdings
Road ready: Highways are set for major expansion as the rest of the network undergoes rehabilitation

PLANTATIONS & AGRICULTURE
Cream of the crop: Increasing both production and exports have been outlined as key goals for the sector
Interview: Navin Dissanayake, Minister of Plantation Industries
Interview: Jayantha Karunaratne, Chairman, Tea Exporters Associatio
Future-proofing: The government seeks to drive modernisation in the sector

CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE
Accelerating growth: Major new projects are piquing investor interest
Material world: Ensuring domestic material supply for future construction
Interview: Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development
Interview: Susantha Ratnayake, Chairman, John Keells
Great expectations: High growth rates attract foreign and domestic investors
Interview: Wong Heang Fine, Group CEO, Surbana Jurong
Making the grade: Developers are meeting demand for high-end office space
A place to stay: New hotel openings are set to boost tourism numbers

TOURISM
Rising star: The government is setting out its plans for the sector
Room for manoeuvre: New supply is on theway at the high end of the hotel market
Interview: John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs; and Minister of Lands
Interview: Hiran Cooray, Chairman, Jetwing

ENERGY & UTILITIES
New direction: Major investment is required as the sector gears up to boost capacity and shift focus to renewables and liquefied natural gas
Interview: Anura Wijayapala, Chairman, Ceylon Electricity Board
Refining plans: Developing the nation’s potential as a refining and storage centre for petroleum products
Greener technologies: New initiatives will increase renewables’ share in the energy mix
Vital resource: Upgrades in the water segment are required to meet the country’s long-term development targets

ICT
The next connection: A plan is in place to improve services and expand access
Interview: Dileepa Wijesundera, Group CEO, Sri Lanka Telecom
Win-win: A new trade deal will open up opportunities for tech firms
A hidden jewel: Low costs and a qualified workforce make for an attractive destination for BPO services
Interview: Madu Ratnayake, Executive Vice-President and General Manager, VirtusaPolaris

EDUCATION & HEALTH
Widening the net: The government aims to address educational disparity and increase access to universities and technical institutions
Interview: Ananda Jayawardane, Vice-Chancellor, University of Moratuwa
Well-rounded care: Public and private facilities find their place in providing quality care and services to residents throughout the island

TAX
Paying dues: The 2017 budget includes changes that affect tax regulations
Viewpoint: Sujeewa Mudalige, Managing Partner, PwC

LEGAL FRAMEWORK
Raft of reforms: A substantial number of key legislative changes are under way
Viewpoint: John Wilson, Managing Proprietor, John Wilson Partners

THE GUIDE
Good fortune: The influence of the past can be seen through the country’s fortresses
A good night’s rest: Hotel listings
Listings: Important phone numbers
Facts for Visitors: Tips for your trip

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