‘Sri Lanka-Philippines business potential untapped’ | Daily News

‘Sri Lanka-Philippines business potential untapped’

SLPBC President congratulating Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Shobini Gunasekera. Hugh Sriyal Dissanayake Honorary Consul of the Philippines in Sri Lanka and officials of SLPBC look on. Picture by Sudath Malaweera
SLPBC President congratulating Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Shobini Gunasekera. Hugh Sriyal Dissanayake Honorary Consul of the Philippines in Sri Lanka and officials of SLPBC look on. Picture by Sudath Malaweera

Despite many Sri Lankan business delegations visiting Manila, the capital of the Philippines, during the past four years, trade and investments between Sri Lanka and the Philippines have been at low ebb.

This shows such visits have not borne fruit, Past President of the Sri Lanka Philippines Business Council, (SLPBC) Samsung De Silva said at the Annual General Meeting at the Galadari Hotel on Tuesday.

He said it was sad to note that only around 15 percent of the population in the Philippines comprising 110 million people knew about Sri Lanka and in contrast nearly a 90 percent of Filipinos knew about the Maldives. This may be due to the large number of Filipinos working in Maldives.”

However, this is one reason for the investments from the Philippines to be low in Sri Lanka besides the red tape in that country,” De Silva said.

According to De Silva, following the visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to Manila last year greater awareness in this regard has been created.

He also said that there a few Sri Lankan biscuit manufactures and entities such as LOLC and Nawaloka Construction have set up businesses in Manila.

De Silva also said that due to various issues a power generating plant from garbage which was to be built in Sri Lanka by the Philippines never materialized, as Sri Lanka showed no interest in it. Meanwhile, new Sri Lanka Ambassador to the Philippines Shobini Gunasekera who was the Chief Guest on the occasion said that she will do her best to convert the negative situation into a positive one.

“I will speak to the authorities in Manila and ensure things get started but the SLPBC must keep me updated on the progress”, Gunasekera said adding that unlike the previous years, Sri Lankan overseas missions have been tasked to promote trade, tourism and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). “We have to present a progress report at the end of the year. Hence I am also under pressure to do something for Sri Lanka,” she said. The Lankan envoy also disclosed that a Sri Lankan embassy would be set up in Manila next year. SLPBC’s new President Ravi De Silva said the Council is pleased to hear that an embassy is be set up in Manila which will help iron out issues.

“SLPBC will lead a business delegation to Manila in October and we hope with the support of the ambassador a new chapter in business between Sri Lanka and Philippines will be turned.Despite the Easter Sunday attacks around 18, 000 tourists from Manila visited Sri Lanka. The number of visitors could double backed by a vibrant marketing campaign.

He also said they need the support of the embassy to attract more professionals from the Philippines to Sri Lanka.


 

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