Land access has been identified as a crucial barrier which inhibits foreign direct investment (FDI) in Sri Lanka. Investment zones, primarily Export Processing Zones (EPZs), are significantly influential in attracting FDI however, Sri Lanka’s EPZs are currently approaching full capacity.
Attempts to remedy this issue have been presented in several budgets over the course of several years, however none of the given proposals were delivered upon and this issue is seen to persist. In 2023, the budget proposal titled the “New Economic Zone Programme” was presented with an allocation of Rupees 0.3 billion however, no information as to the progress and implementation of this proposal has been publicly disclosed by the Sri Lankan Government thus far, thereby reinforcing such concerns.
The 2023 Budget Speech targets FDI of over US $3 billion over the course of the next 10 years, however, significant questions are raised in this regard as to whether Sri Lanka can attain this without sufficient land for investment and when the promised land and infrastructure will finally be delivered.