Sri Lanka invites investors for first economic zone in post-war north

Sri Lanka invites investors for first economic zone in post-war north

COLOMBO, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Sri Lankan government is calling on investors for the first investment zone in the former war-torn north of the country, an official said here on Tuesday.

Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development along with the Industrial Development Board (IDB) has extended an open invitation to interested investors and industrialists to benefit from the new post-war opportunity at the Achuchuveli Industrial Zone (AIZ).

The zone, which is the first to be established in the former war torn northern part of Sri Lanka, is funded with part assistance from the Indian government with technical input from United Nations Office for Project Service (UNOPS).

"To ensure that the businesses in the Achchuveli Industrial Estate remain sustainable it is important to carefully select the investors. We are highly cautious in this regard and want only the high potential clusters to be selected. That is the priority at the moment," Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Ministry Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy told reporters.

Having noted that over 50 investors have already expressed interest in setting up ventures at the AIZ, Sivagnanasothy said the Ministry encourages local investors.

However, if foreign investors are keen on being part of the Achchuveli Industrial Estate, they could do so in partnership with local businesses.

With 25 acres being developed under the first phase, the land is divided into 22 plots and will be offered on a 30-year lease to interested investors.

Depending on the success of the phase one development, the Indian Government expressed that it would consider a second phase development where it would work on another 25 acres of land.

Sri Lanka's government has also earmarked eight other industrial zones scattered around the country that will be opened in 2014.

Sri Lanka ended a brutal three-decade civil war with the Tamil Tigers in 2009.