Can Port City be positioned as a modern services hub?


Dr. Wignaraja spoke about the published research study conducted by LKI which looked at the state of play of the services industry globally and Sri Lanka role in modern services development. The study also looked scenarios on how the Port City Colombo could evolve over the next 20 years given alternative assumptions about domestic and international factors. Finally, the study benchmarked national policies and SEZ conditions in Sri Lanka against those in Asia and the Middle East including Malaysia, India, South Korea and United Arab Emirates.

He said that findings suggested that while traditional services (such as public administration, education, trade, investment, retail and construction) are a foundation for many economies looking at modern services (such as IT, finance, insurance and professional services) to drive economic growth and structural transformation. Modern services are important because they're associated with better productivity, growth and exports which are critical for a country like Sri Lanka which has a foreign exchange constraint and needs to provide high value jobs for its people.

Based on the analysis of successful SEZs in Asia and the Middle East, Dr. Wignaraja argued that factors like a business-friendly regime, strong diplomatic relations with neighboring countries, comprehensive trade and investment agreements provided the confidence for investors to make these SEZs successful. Another important factor is the access to a pool of talented graduates trained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects as well as business studies and economics. Finally, he said that the formulation and the implementation of a coherent policy framework was essential to realize the full potential of the Port City Colombo.

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Channa Manoharan

Channa Manoharan

Advisory Leader / Chief Operating Officer, PwC Sri Lanka

Tel: +94 11 771 9700 ext.5002