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“Indian investors have important roles in our FDI, trade” – Minister Bathiudeen

(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – Ongoing economic reforms in Sri Lanka have excited Indian corporate investors, amongst them India’s biggest player in their domestic LNG gas sector who is bidding to enter the Lankan market to supply the new, green LNG -and also to revolutionise the present LNG supply system here as well.

“Ongoing economic reforms in Sri Lanka have awakened our interest here” announced Ramesh Kumar Mutha (Leader of business delegation to Colombo from Confederation of Indian Industry) on Thursday (01) in Colombo. CII’s Mutha was addressing Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen in Colombo during his delegation’s call on Minister Bathiudeen. CII is the largest industry chamber in India.

Among CII industry sectors and companies meeting Minister Bathiueeen on 1 June were automibiles (Tata Motors), exports (Mohan Mutha Exports-an Indian govt accredited star export house), energy (Petronet LNG), refractories (Caldery’s India Refractories), tobacco processing (Ankita Overseas Ltd) and water supplies (Shubham Aqualink). The Indian industry and biz-led, not-for-profit Confederation of Indian Industry has more than 8000 members from Indian multinationals, corporates and SMEs and is a leading policy influencer. More importantly CII is a reference point on overall Indian SMEs, multinationals and industry. It has additional 200,000 other member firms as well. CII’s presence is such that it has offices in nine overseas destinations-China, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, France, Germany, Singapore, UK, and USA. CII also has institutional partnerships with 320 counterpart organizations in 106 countries.

“Reforms are taking place in both Sri Lankan and Indian economies. Both economies are on a growth path” said CII’s Mutha and added: “Ongoing economic reforms in Sri Lanka have awakened our interest here. Specially members of my delegation are keen in partnering in energy, LNG Gas, export links, and water supplies here. We are scouting for investments in Sri Lanka in these sectors. For example, Petronet LNG Ltd, India’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas, has called for a large scale project in Sri Lanka.”

“We welcome Indian investors to our industries” said Minister Bathiudeen and added: “Our Unity government’s aim is to develop our economy towards higher middle income ranks and reforms play a key role in it. Your ndian Investment to Sri Lanka are annually between $ 50 Mn to $70 Mn. Indian investors have a significant role here-for example India was the fifth largest investor in Sri Lanka in 2015. Your investments can increase our two way trade- last year our total bilateral trade was $4.3 billion and our leading exports to India showed results of diversification efforts; main exports from Sri Lanka being spices, nuts, paperboards, ships & boats. More importantly, more than 60 percent of our exports to India were products under ISFTA. New Indian investments here can strengthen this positive trend further.”

Deputy Manager of Petronet LNG Ltd Manik Jhamb explained that Petronet LNG has already submitted their proposal for Sri Lanka entry. “Our proposal for Sri Lanka envisages an operation where we will supply clean LNG in comparison to what is seen in Sri Lankan market today. Investing in it is a win-win for Lankan government, consumers and for us since it is Green LNG and therefore a shift will occur to cleaner LNG in Sri Lanka. More importantly, we will revolutionise the supply system here-in that we will introduce pipe-borne LNG supply to households, thereby removing the need for use of cylinder based method. It’s a large scale project and we are ready for entry upon the go ahead. Petronet LNG is a Joint Venture by the Government of India to import LNG and set up LNG terminals in the country, and involves India’s leading oil and natural gas industry players including GAIL (India) Limited, Oil & Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). The authorized capital of Petronet is $240 million!”

Minister Bathiudeen praised Petronet LNG for its initiatives in Sri Lanka. “Your efforts can strengthen local gas market. I and my officials shall extend our fullest support to you and other Indian investors partnering with us” he assured.

During their June 1 meeting, Minister Bathiudeen and CII’s Mutha also discussed other avenues of industrial cooperation and his previous interactions with the CII.

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