Posted on September 16, 2018

Doha Bank hosted a knowledge sharing session on 13th Sept 2018 “Qatar- Sri Lanka Bilateral Opportunities “at Doha Bank HO, Doha Qatar. The event witnessed participation from Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor- The Central Bank of Sri Lanka and HE Mr. A.S.P. Liyanage, Sri Lankan Ambassador to State of Qatar. The event was well attended by financial institutions and Corporates who were interested in bilateral opportunities between Qatar and Sri Lanka.

Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar economy and Sri Lankan economy. He said “Qatar’s gross domestic product (GDP) is set to grow 2.6 percent this year. Sri Lanka unveiled Vision 2025, which aims to position the country as an export hub in the Indian Ocean. As per Vision 2025, concrete steps will be taken to move from exporting mainly low-technology products to high-tech products and attracting investments. In response to the economic blockade Qatar has emerged strong and has brought various reforms to transform itself into a self-reliant economy. In 2017 Qatar has waived entry visa requirements for citizens of 80 countries. The upcoming law on foreign investment will allow non-Qatari businesses to have 100 per cent capital in companies can evidence interest from Sri Lankan investors. India is a significant trade and investment partner with Sri Lanka. Major Indian corporates have presence in Sri Lanka. Trade business between Sri Lanka and India can be facilitated. There has been surge in diplomatic relationships between Qatar and Sri Lanka in last 3 years. Sri Lanka has enjoyed close ties with Qatar, with over 140,000 Sri Lankans in Qatar. Srilanka can support Qatar in Food. Sri Lankan companies are looking to take part in Qatari projects and establish joint ventures in various sectors. Qatari corporates can also explore opportunities in Sri Lanka‘s infrastructure and energy sector. Qatar and Sri Lanka bilateral partnerships are in a defining moment.”

Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor – The Central Bank of Sri Lanka said “Qatar is key contributor to Sri Lanka’s remittances. Qatar and Sri Lankan Banks have excellent relationships and want to take it to the next level. Sri Lanka economic growth was at 3.3% in 2017 and will be returning to 4% by end of this year. The outlook for Sri Lanka remains strong with improved macroeconomic conditions. The economy is expected to rebound to a higher growth path in the medium term with the implementation of policy reforms by the government. Inflation is expected to remain within the targeted band of 4-6%. The Central Bank is moving towards Flexible Inflation Targeting (FIT) by 2020.   Fiscal consolidation efforts are expected to bring down the budget deficit to 3.5%by 2020 while both the current account and primary balances are expected to be surpluses. The external sector strengthened with a higher level of international reserves underpinned by a better export performance, a flexible exchange rate policy and continuous inflows to the financial account. The Government’s Economic Vision seeks to transform Sri Lanka into a hub of the Indian Ocean.”

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Dr. Mohamed Z M Aazim - Superintendent & Registrar - Public Debt Department, said” The financial sector remained resilient with a strengthened regulatory and supervisory framework in line with international standards and best practices. Since domestic demand is insufficient to achieve high economic growth, the export orientation of the economy is being enhanced, with conducive trade and investment policies, including the better utilization of existing trade agreements, establishment of new trade links, and a competitive exchange rate policy. Government had already provided policy and institutional support to improve external trade. Free Trade Agreements to serve as a gateway to larger markets. Scope of goods based agreement with India will be expanded to include comprehensive partnership agreement.  Trade arrangements with India, China and EU to differentiate Sri Lanka from many of its peers to have wider access to fast growing markets and thereby benefiting and accelerating its growth potential. The IMF acknowledged the progress made by Sri Lanka to stabilize the economy and support growth.”

HE A. S. P. Liyanage, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Qatar said “ Both countries have unique opportunities to engage with each other, where Qatar based entrepreneurs can explore the opportunities in major areas such as Investments, Food and Agriculture, Hospitality, Oil and Gas, Infrastructure, Tourism and Trade Services. I am pleased to inform that the Sri Lankan Embassy in Qatar, under the guidance of H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, the President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, with the support of Doha Bank, have made arrangements to form ‘the Sri Lanka Qatar Business Council’ which would enable to improve the bilateral relations between two countries in trade, investment, tourism and other activities.”