Timing of credit ceiling on banks could be a barrier to achieve targets - Dr. Godahewa
Despite the setting up of a ‘one stop shop’ at the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) to cut down red tape, bureaucracy issues which are deeply rooted into the current system of investment approval is acting as one of the biggest impediments to attracting and rolling out some of the most feasible foreign and local investment projects associated to tourism development, acknowledges the Chief of the SLTDA. According to Dr Nalaka Godahewa, another factor that is hindering the prospects of the island’s tourism is the issue of vandalism at important tourism sites by irresponsible citizens of the country.
“It is a crime and a grave mistake to hinder the influx of investments to this booming and promising industry in the post war Sri Lanka merely because of our age old bureaucracy in our administration system,” the Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Dr Nalaka Godahewa highlighted addressing a public seminar last week.
However, he says that since the establishment of the ‘one stop shop’ two years ago, the process has been expedited. According to him, SLTDA has received 244 tourism related investment proposals of which 115 have already been approved while only 25 were rejected only on the grounds of environmental impact. The rest, he says is still in the pipeline waiting their nod.
Pointing out an example which happened two years ago, Godahewa said that a certain investor had to go through a painful process of investment approval through so many line agencies and by the time he secured the approval, a good amount of time and money had been wasted.
“So if he is a foreign investor he may not come back or recommend the country for others who are willing to invest”, Dr Godahewa noted at the seminar held at the Centre for Banking Studies last week where he spoke on the topic ‘Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka; Growth Strategies and Future Prospects’.
When questioned on the issue of what the tourism authorities were doing to mitigate vandalism at tourism heritage sites, he said that the body had already been working with the Ministry of Defense under the city beautification projects to prevent these from taking place.
Meanwhile, the SLTDA chief also highlighted that the credit ceiling presently imposed on banks, if continued, might be a hindrance for crucial investments that are needed to achieve the ambitious tourism targets.