Creating value for Investors

Creating value for Investors

Nihal Ranasinghe lays out the necessary fundamental changes

Independent Sri Lanka, now 71-years old, has embraced the talk of many development drives for very long, yet the country still has ample room for growth in many areas. Foreign Direct Investment, which is more conveniently known by its acronym, FDI is one major financial aspect that continues to grab the attention of development gurus. Just last year, Sri Lanka launched an online one-stop shop which facilitates investors in obtaining the necessary official approvals for making investments.
But the essential problem remains. Can Sri Lanka be expected to reach its financial goal with such steps?

OSL – THE Investment Magazine spoke to Nihal Ranasinghe, a senior public servant, to ascertain the nitty-gritty of Sri Lanka’s preparedness to attract FDI. A former Controller-General of Immigration and Emigration, and currently Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Ranasinghe is in a position to comprehend both needs and the means for fulfilling them.


He draws attention to three elements which play equally crucial roles in attracting investment: geographical location, size of the country and the volume of its labour.
The focus on FDI requires the understanding of the composition or the type of the entire investment in the country. It applies to both local and foreign investments. This component is essentially the government’s commitments to FDI.

“We need to focus on the future of investment,” Ranasinghe says, emphatically. “We have to look at it from that perspective. We are inviting capable, tested and proven investors into Sri Lanka and requesting them to reside in Sri Lanka with their assets. When we consider this, we need to be familiar with the investor’s expectations. It is the most important element.”

“Expectations” is the keyword. Sri Lanka is not the only country available on the investor’s market. The investor has many other options spread across the globe offering better convenience and myriad other temptations. Ranasinghe emphasises the need to understand – or refine, rather – the Sri Lankan context in this regard. Sri Lanka’s incentives need to be determined on that terrain.

“First and foremost, from our side, a government strategy must be formulated. The government strategy, of course, depends on the country’s location, size and its volume of labour. These are the vital factors for the investor in terms of calculating the investment cost or the cost of finance,” he explains.
Unlike other countries, Sri Lanka is confined to certain areas of investment. In it the labour volume is limited. Ranasinghe points out how disadvantaged Sri Lanka is in this respect, in comparison to Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. Malaysia and Vietnam, in particular, offer an appropriate volume of labour. That vital factor remains at a low ebb in Sri Lanka, which creates natural friction.

“It leads us to consider other paths. First, we need to structure. It means, basically we need to ensure that law and order have to be maintained to the entire satisfaction of the investor. The investor certainly looks for legal protection. Introducing new statutes itself would not suffice. Law must be applied on a practical stage,” he elucidates.

Legal framework

This is where commercial law comes to play. The investors are required to enter into agreements prior to the investment. It is another area that needs streamlining.
“When it comes to contracts and administration, we must have a clear and effective arbitration procedure to ensure fast and smooth passage for the investors. That is very important. The investors must be made happy ensured that their investment rests in a safe domain. That can be guaranteed by law and order as well as special law procedures that protect the investors. The government must ensure effective execution of law and order,” he notes.

As investors observe these factors with eagerness, the investment policymakers must revisit the system in such lines to assess how and where the country is moving forward. Such an assessment will build a healthy rapport and motivation that magnetises more investors to the country.Ranasinghe then brings up the cost of infrastructure, another vital element in FDI. Cost of infrastructure comes in diverse forms: transport, power, telecommunication and labour among them. The potential investor also weighs this factor against other available markets.

“Most countries have attractive packages in terms of infrastructure cost. Compared to Sri Lanka, their infrastructure cost is marginal. Naturally, the investors weigh in this factor. Remember, they are operating in a competitive market. And you are supposed to be competitive. But you cannot afford to be competitive if the cost of production is high. So we need to ensure that our investors – not only foreign but the local as well – are producing something more than what they need. And make it affordable for masses. The surplus can be channelled for exports. We need to produce more,” he explains.

The attraction for investors may well rest in many other elements. The overall stability of the country’s political and social set up is one. This is significant, as such stability paves the way to proper handling of infrastructure. In that vein, the government needs to adopt a concrete policy structure and implement it.

Global parameters

“These instruments must be world-recognised. It must function hand in hand with the global parameters. Then only can the investors compare the Sri Lankan situation and the situation in other competitive domains. For instance, Sri Lanka’s policy is different in comparison to most other countries. Most FDI-friendly countries follow an almost similar economic policy. The drawback is clear. We lose the potential investors who will settle down elsewhere more conveniently,” he points out.

Such a phenomenon is unavoidable, however heavy the advertising may be that would be carried out for FDI. The lack of inducements and a commonly-framed basis for investment appraisal evaluation are among significant aspects that hinder FDI. However, it does not mean the country must follow one national policy on investment once and for all. A policy must rather be procedural, supported by monitoring, evaluation, feedback and research. Every aspect needs to be assembled and considered before implementing a policy.

“We have to study the markets in other parts of the world, especially their competitive edges. They develop their systems daily. We need to be mindful of that, and accommodate whatever changes are possible in Sri Lanka. When it comes to an investor, we need to have packages to international standards. The investor compares and contrasts before taking a decision. Even if there is a government policy, it needs to be aligned with the international markets, export promotion and the cost of production. And basically, the entire situation should avoid or eliminate the uncertainty,” Ranasinghe elaborates.
What are the prospects in the near future in such a platform?

Many efforts accelerating FDI attraction have taken place in the past. Some were successful. Some were partly successful. Some were not successful at all. On the other hand, the country is facing a chaotic situation, where the state officials are concerned. It hampers the investor’s decision-making.

Political stability

“This is crucial from the investor’s point of view. They test how the ruling administration will handle or manage in the country. We have to manage all these situations to the entire satisfaction of the local and international community of investors. Otherwise, keeping certain issues without being resolved for a long time will create a negative impact, not only in the local but the foreign domain too. So the approach should be how we are engaged in the industry. It has a significant impact on creating a conducive environment for foreign investors,” he claims.

Political stability, administrative efficiency policy consistency, and a quiet and peaceful environment are key pillars in promoting investment. The responsibility to maintain such decorum rests in everyone’s shoulders. When it comes to developing a country like Sri Lanka, the identification of the right instruments is essential to create value.

“Value creation is a conceptual framework. How to create? Take foreign employment for instance. Sri Lankan citizens go abroad for employment, and remit a huge amount of income in return. Why can’t we create other avenues? Similar instruments that can be used for the betterment of the country? But for that matter, you need to generate people who can promote. We need to identify the areas and the resources that can lead to better knowledge,” he explains.

With foreign technology and other resources at play, the country needs to have a strong set of rules and regulations. However, rules and regulations – let alone laws – cannot be changed overnight without the consent or consultation of the parties concerned. If you have an agreement or if you are in contract with two parties, both must conclude to change the existing system.

“Capitalise on world development. We need to attract international trade into Sri Lanka. The attitudes, technological advancement, impact of the facilities must be made available. The legal systems must be in place. All these conform to one in the country,” Ranasinghe points out. With such steps in action, Sri Lanka can at least think of being smart enough to capture the attention of beneficial investors.

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Proposed Engineering Design & Construction Of High Rise Office Complex At Sethsiripaya Premises Sethsiripaya Stage III

Proposed Engineering Design & Construction Of High Rise Office Complex At Sethsiripaya Premises Sethsiripaya Stage III


Sethsiripaya Administrative Complex development is a long term project by Sri Lanka Government to build a series of building to house a large number of Government Ministries and administrative office in one location in Sethsiripaya premises in Battaramulla, Kotte


The Chairman, Standing Cabinet Appointed Procurement Committee (SCAPC), Ministry of Megapolis & Western Development now invites sealed bids from eligible and qualified Bidders for the Proposed Engineering Design and Construction of High Rise Office Complex at Sethsiripaya Premises (Sethsiripaya Stage III) as described below.

  • The Time for Completion is 1260 Days. Estimated cost of the project is Rupees 16.7 Billion (excluding contingencies and VAT).
  • Bidding will be conducted through National Competitive Bidding Procedure.


The scope of Works includes engineering design, construction, commissioning and remedying defects of twenty five storeyed high rise office complex consisting of 1.35 Million square feet (Approximate) at Sethsiripaya Premises, including civil works, services (Electrical, Mechanical, Water Supply, Drainage and Sewerage Systems, ICT) and external works based on the detailed architectural designs provided by the Employer and piling works completed as a separate contract.


Bids shall be valid up to 189 Days from the date of closing of Bids.


Pre-Bid meetings will be held at 1000 hrs. on 03” June 2019 at Auditorium, Urban Development Authority, 70 floor, “Sethsiripaya Stage-I”, Battaramulla followed by a site visit and at 1000 hrs. on 24th April 2019 at the above place.


Bid closing time shall be 14.00 hrs on 24th May 2019


All bids shall be accompanied by a Bid Security, which shall be in the form included in the Section V in the Bidding Document, issued in favour of Chairman, Urban Development Authority, 9° Floor, “Sethsiripaya – Stage I”, Battaramulla for an amount of Sri Lankan Rupees Hundred and Fifty Million (Rs150,000,000.00) valid up to 27° December 2019 issued by a reputed commercial bank operating in Sri Lanka approved by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka or an agency acceptable to the Employer as per Clause 16.2 of Bidding Data.

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Call for International Competitive Bids for Exploration and Development Activities in Block M2, Mannar Basin, Offshore Sri Lanka.

Call for International Competitive Bids for Exploration and Development Activities in Block M2, Mannar Basin, Offshore Sri Lanka.

Opportunity Overview

Sri Lanka is blessed by nature in many ways which makes her, in all her glory, the island paradise and the Pearl of the Indian Ocean. Another untouched gem, among others, is the oil and natural gas off her shores.

According to the Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development, plans have been formulated to move forward with a strategic oil and gas exploration and development plan. One of the key components of the plans is to commercialise natural gas discoveries in Block M2 of the Mannar Basin.

The government has now opened the Block M2 as part of a limited tender offer, to find a partner to appraise and develop the discovery of natural gas, as well as to explore for additional prospects, said the Petroleum Resources Development Secretariat. The block contains two natural gas and condensate discoveries:

  • Dorado
  • Barracuda

They were discovered in exploration activities carried out seven years ago in 2011.


The volumetric analysis of these two discoveries has indicated a combined potential reservoir capacity in excess of 2 Trillion Cubic feet of natural gas and 10 million BBL (barrels) of condensate.

The Mannar basin has sufficiently thick and mature sedimentary deposits that may yield high quality oil and natural gas which would be adequate for the next sixty years.

Initial studies of well data and regional studies indicate that the source rocks have the potential to generate 5 Billion barrels of oil and 9 Trillion Cubic feet of natural gas.

The Invitation

Hence Ministry of Petroleum Resources Development intends to call for fresh bids for oil exploration block M2 in Mannar BasinThe M2 Block covers approximately 3500 km2. Bidders are expected to consider both development of the discoveries and exploration of the rest of the M2 Block.

  • Bids will be closed on May 07th 2019 at 12000 hrs.

Potential Investor / Developers are invited for Foreign Direct Investment or a composition of a Joint Venture with Chelina Capital Corporation. Recommended initial step is to submit an Expression of Interest on the interested project. Followed by a preliminary proposal including, company profile, Board of Directors profiles, Past Experience, Technological Capabilities, Patented Technology if any, Competitive advantage of technology and materials utilized to complete the project, Past Three years audited financial reports and the end to end solution offered for the project.

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Request for proposals for “mixed development project’ at kirimandala mawatha, depicted as lot no:8 in plan no. 41/SLLRDC

Request for proposals for “mixed development project’ at kirimandala mawatha, depicted as lot no:8 in plan no. 41/SLLRDC


Proposals are invited by the Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Corporation for the Land extent of 05A 00R 00P depicted in P. no 91/SLLRADC for a Mixed Development Project at Kirimandala Mawatha.

Bidders should make their offers for the land on or above the base price (Chief Valuers Valuation} and subject to agreement on Lease for 99 years as Indicated in The table below.


The scope of Works includes engineering design, construction, commissioning and remedying defects of twenty five storeyed high rise office complex consisting of 1.35 Million square feet (Approximate) at Sethsiripaya Premises, including civil works, services (Electrical, Mechanical, Water Supply, Drainage and Sewerage Systems, ICT) and external works based on the detailed architectural designs provided by the Employer and piling works completed as a separate contract.


Bids shall be valid up to 189 Days from the date of closing of Bids.


Pre-Bid meetings will be held at 1000 hrs. on 25th April 2019 at Auditorium, Urban Development Authority, 70 floor, “Sethsiripaya Stage-I”, Battaramulla followed by a site visit and at 1000 hrs. on 24th April 2019 at the above place.


Bid closing time shall be 14.00 hrs on 31st  May 2019


  • All bids shall be accompanied by a Bid Security, which shall be in the form included in the Section V in the Bidding Document, issued in favour of Chairman, Urban Development Authority, 9° Floor, “Sethsiripaya – Stage I”, Battaramulla for an amount of Sri Lankan Rupees Hundred and Fifty Million (Rs 40,739,500.00) issued by a reputed commercial bank operating in Sri Lanka approved by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka or an agency acceptable to the Employer as per Clause 16.2 of Bidding Data.
  • The Bid Security shall be valid for 220 days(6th Jan 2020) from the opening date of the bids


A complete set of Bidding Documents in English language may be purchased by interested bidders on submission of a written application to the Head/ Procurement Unit, UDA, 7° Floor, “Sethiripaya Stage I”, Battaramulla at the above address from 14° March 2019 until 24th May 2019 from 0900 hrs to 1500 hrs upon payment of a non refundable fee of Sri Lankan Rupees Three Hundred Thousand (Rs. 100,000.00) including VAT. The method of payment shall be cash.

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Many, many years ago, an American wag said “Colombo is half the size of New York cemetery, and twice as dead.” If this were ever true, it is no longer. Sri Lanka’s commercial capital provides a varied and multi-faceted range of entertainments, by night and by day.

Bellagio Casino has played a vital part in the growth of Colombo’s burgeoning entertainment scene. Established in 1999, it kept the fires of fun and diversion burning through the lean years of the civil conflict. Today it is firmly established at the summit of the world of gaming in this tropical isle.

With a reputation for upholding a tradition of excellence in taking care of their prestigious clientele, forged over the years by providing unrivalled quality, felicity and reliability in its delivery of service, Bellagio Casino is one of the finest and most vibrant gaming arenas in Colombo. It remains deeply committed to a philosophy of offering high-quality high-tech equipment, complying to the highest international standards, together with a team of experienced and highly competent professionals delivering an exceptional level of service.

Online gaming

For gamers who cannot find the time or the opportunity to visit their casino, Bellagio offers them a live casino experience with the very best in live online casino gaming at their online gaming website at The site offers players, anywhere and at any time, a selection of tables on which to play alongside the floor players, with live games ranging from Roulette and Baccarat to Andar Bahar. Gamers can watch the actual game progress live over streaming feeds and enjoy a truly live casino experience. Bellagio also offers a 24 – hour online support, with accessibility from any network or device, swift pay – outs and monthly kickbacks.

Essential experience

Today, while it has laid a base for catering to the rapidly increasing regional demand for gaming, Bellagio Casino is set to shape new horizons for their valued clientele, by setting in motion a raft of expansion projects, and stands prepared to offer the perceptive gamer a uniquely exciting genre of entertainment, and the time of their life to the occasional gamer – from arrival to departure.

Included with the Bellagio experience is the finest show-biz line-up, keeping clients entertained while they play, dining, or just relaxing, including Bollywood celebrity performances and seductive belly dancesz or pole dances by young and skilled Ukrainian performers. The casino also hosts a variety of events ranging from international cultural celebrations to theme nights and special draws.

Bellagio offers high-stakes rollers an exclusive first-floor VIP lounge, where gamers can play in the utmost comfort and privacy, at a variety of high-stakes table games. Equipped with its own independent cashier cage, the VIP lounge provides an atmosphere of luxurious relaxation, while the premium players are plied with a variety of food, beverages and guest services.

The new wing was inaugurated in March 2017 for Indian – Flush – Teenpatti, Black Jack and live Poker. Here, high stake tournaments are conducted periodically by independent operators. This separate area on the first floor comprises of a variety of gaming tables, an independent bar and a sit-down restaurant.

Partner hotels

Bellagio Casino provides its clients with a range of luxury hotels from which to choose accommodation. These partner hotels include:

The Kingsbury

The Kingsbury Hotel has been designed in such a way that all 229 rooms of a glorious view of Galle Face Green and the Indian Ocean. This 5-star hotel is equipped with fine dining restaurants, a swimming pool, spa, a fitness centre and extensive business amenities. The international facilities and the impeccable service combined to offer the guest superior care during their stay.

Cinnamon Grand

The Cinnamon Grand is a landmark of luxury among all hotels in Colombo. With luxurious rooms and restaurants serving up an eclectic mix of fine cuisine, Cinnamon Grand offers world class facilities, not only for the leisure traveller, but also for the hard-working businessperson. Situated at the heart of Colombo’s business, shopping and entertainment district, it allows guests easy access to fulfilling all their requirements during their stay in Colombo.

Taj Samudra

Facing the peerless vistas of the Indian Ocean, Taj Samudra offers guests the best view of Colombo’s Metro areas. With its 300 well-equipped rooms, the hotel also offers a range of services to meet business, health, travel and leisure needs. Taj Samudra also boasts of 7 different restaurants, specialising in different cuisines around the globe. The hotel’s strategic positioning enables guests to attend to all their requirements within Colombo, as well as to round off the day with a stroll along the iconic seafront Galle Face Green.


With open spaces, modern designs and cool features, Mövenpick Hotel Colombo has been in operation since January 2017 and is the first 5-star Hotel to open in Colombo in 25 years. Situated in the commercial and cultural heart of Sri Lanka’s capital city, this stunning 24-storey Hotel brings a touch of altitude and attitude to Colombo’s hospitality scene, making it the perfect base from which to explore this capital city.

Shangri – La hotel

Located in the heart of the city’s entertainment district, Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo offers the finest collection of guest rooms with stunning views of the Indian Ocean and the cityscape. Six innovative restaurants and bars, Shangri-La’s signature Chi, The Spa, a Health Club and poolside overlooking the sea, make this the social and dining hotspot of Colombo.

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The Prawn Experts, aptly named ‘ISSO’, celebrate their 3rd anniversary on the 23rd of March this year. From humble beginnings at their small and cozy 600 square foot outlet at Sulaiman Terrace, the restaurant has slowly expanded over the years opened their second flagship and outlet at Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha in Colombo 3.

Speaking about their 3 years in operation, co-founder of ISSO Apinash Sivagumaaran, “For us, the ISSO journey is a dream come true, particularly our phenomenal growth and the establishment of our flagship restaurant in Colpetty. We would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to our prawn-crazy customers, the members of our team, our vendors, partners, families and friends, who have all been supportive and active members of our ISSO journey without them none of this would have been possible.”

“Our 4th year is going to be an exciting one, as we will continue on our journey of expansion both here and abroad. As our next venture, we are preparing to open doors of our ISSO outlet in the Maldives in May. We look forward to growing our brand locally and internationally,’ he added.

Having started with and perfected the art of serving mouthwatering dishes of prawns, ISSO now offers a wide variety of seafood options for people looking for an alternative to prawns. Customers can order lobster tail, baby octopus, blue mussels, red mullet and a vegetarian option containing a trio of mushrooms in addition to the prawn combos. The restaurant chain is known for using only the freshest, high quality ingredients and for making quality their highest priority.

ISSO was conceptualised and founded by the passionate and innovative trio of Apinash Sivagumaaran, Fawaz Fassi and Shuhaib Yusoof. The ISSO concept revolutionised and reignited a passion for prawns amongst the public. They have continued to deliver novel experiences with their reinvention of the traditional biriyani, with the introduction of the Lobster Biriyani, which is not available anywhere else. They have also remained consistent, delivering their popular staples such as “The Northern Twist” (Jaffna Curry), which happens to be their all-time hot seller.

ISSO caters to a wide spectrum of taste palates, using only the best quality ingredients from the region. The core concept is prawn centric, and the simple three – step process allows you to customise your own combo meal by initially selecting the prawn size, followed by the preparation style and the type of carb. Both restaurant outlets are open from to throughout the week and offer dine-in and free delivery services (within the Colombo city limits), along with outdoor seating and reservations. They can also be found on Uber Eats and PickMe Food.

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No housing market bubble

No housing market bubble

But taxation on apartments needs to be reined in

There is a need to provide convenient housing facilities for the middle and the upper middle class segment in this country. Therefore, the authorities should take proper measures to maintain policies that help grow real estate and property development sector, by facilitating the home buyers with financial options, loans with lower interest rates, and simplified taxes on property, says Access Residencies General Manager

Lakkana R. Abeyanayake

The Access Group, launched in 1990, is one of the fast- growing Conglomerates in Sri Lanka. It has grown and diversified into many fields. Since its inception, it has been highly successful in securing major projects for infrastructure development. The strategic goal of the Group focuses on consolidating and strengthening existing enterprises, while continuing an aggressive growth plan for entering vital new ventures and markets with innovative products and services.

Access Residencies (Pvt) Ltd, a Member of the Access Group, has embarked on a mission to create residential apartments which are targeted at middle class and upper-middle class clientele. So far the company has been successful in capturing the market. The secret behind their success can be attributed to the “right segment and the right price.”

General Manager Lakkana R. Abeyanayake told OSL-THE Investment Magazine that the company plans to expand with more options for the middle and upper middle class home buyers in the future.

“We are new to the industry of Real Estate and Property Development. The past year has proven to be one of great success and a year of accomplishments for Access Residencies from watching our initial project grow day by day with great pride. Access Residencies has continued to stand up and be counted and made our presence known in a competitive industry.”

The company commenced operations in 2016 with a flagship project, “Zion” in Thalawathugoda. Located in the heart of the administrative capital, it is on course for completion at this very moment. Its 63 luxury apartments, spread across nine floors – with two floors for parking – are in three categories with prices ranging from LKR13 Million for One Bed Room Apartment, LKR.20 Million for Two Bed Room Apartment and LKR.26 Million for Three Bed Room Apartments. It provides residents with luxury lifestyle amenities including a Gym, Swimming Pool and Rooftop Recreational Area, round the clock security, garbage disposal systems and allocated parking spaces.

“Thalawathugoda,” says Lakkana, “is a fast-developing area. It is a very prominent and convenient location with easy access to entrance and exit to outer circular road network; the Kottawa and Athurugiriya expressway interchanges are within 10 minutes from our project.”

Zion residents will be able to access almost any part of the country from the highway hub. Situated in Thalawathugoda Town, facing Pannipitiya Main Road​ (Borella Road), ​within​ 200 ​metres of the Thalawathugoda ​Junction and conveniently located just a few minutes away from (within walking distance of) all necessary facilities, including vibrant shopping areas, schools, Hemas and Sri Jayawardenapura hospitals, spas, restaurants, sports complexes, and the beautiful jogging track located along the Diyawannawa lake, Zion provides its residents with the opportunity to indulge in luxury living, with panoramic views of the scenic parliamentary surroundings, and contributes to the continuing development of one of the fastest growing suburbs on the island.

“At present the project is under construction and we have sold over 65% of the apartments. Only 24 apartments are remaining. We are hoping to complete the project by end of 2019.”

Following the success of Zion, Access Residencies has moved closer to the commercial hub of the island, embarking on, “Aquaria”.

“Our second project is in Kirimandala Mawatha, Colombo 05, which is a Colombo address. We were very fortunate and with lot of hard work, we had only eight apartments remaining out of 56 apartments at the ground-breaking ceremony.”

The epitome of luxury living, Aquaria looks to provide its residents with a standard of living that makes their lives a lot easier. It contains 56 luxury apartments spread out over eight floors, with four floors for parking, providing its residents with luxury fixtures and fittings, a roof top pool, a gym & function area, luscious green zones within the compound, with around the clock security and CCTV coverage as well as electric car charging points at car parks. Aquaria also provides residents the opportunity to wake up to a picturesque water front view every morning. Access Residencies is highly excited to get this project completed on time and look forward to providing their patrons and investors a standard of living that they deserve. Making Aquaria, truly the place to live.

Being located on Kirimandala Mawatha residents will benefit from living in a leading Health square in the country, a mere walking distance from some of the leading hospitals such as Ninewells Hospital, as well as minutes away from some of leading private and local schools including British School, Asian International School and Vidura College.

With 90% of the apartments already sold, Access Residencies has built a reputation that instils trust and confidence with their customers.

“That shows the confidence people have in Access Group, Access Residencies, our product and our pricing,” asserts Lakkana.

He is highly excited to get started on the newest Access Residencies Project – their most ambitious yet –a mixed development with 156 apartments over 28 floors including eight parking floors, with panoramic views of Colombo City and Ocean view as well, set to change the skyline of Colombo 05 forever.

“We just commenced piling at the Colombo 05 project. At the same time, we are looking at our third project which also a Colombo address – on the High Level Road in Colombo 05. There is a huge demand again for this project. Although the people in the middle and the upper middle class want to buy – most projects around the city are beyond the middle and the upper middle class budget. Unless you price it right, people can’t afford to buy.”

Access Residencies is catering to the middle and upper-middle segment, which is a good market, with a great demand. The number of people who belong to this segment is growing and they need proper housing.

“We are catering to the middle class and upper middle class clientele,” he says, “as we are concerned about providing affordable luxury to this segment of buyers. Our prices start at LKR.13 Million for a single bed room apartment. This is much more affordable for a middle class couple starting a new life or for a single person. It could also be convenient for a person planning out his or her retirement. Even for a young family with one child, a LKR.13 Million apartment could be an ideal abode, as they are quite spacious. Today more young people are joining the employment market with good income levels. There are also young entrepreneurs going up the ladder in life. We are catering to them. Even if you look at a government servant who is retiring, he or she can afford to buy a one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment with their life’s earnings.”

Lakkana is confident about the future.

“There are also certain sections who are talking about the ‘bubble’. The pricing in the upper class sector is probably too high. There can be stagnation in the segment with apartments priced beginning from Rs.60 to 70 million. However, that is not our target market. Our segment would not come under that category. Hence, I don’t see any negativity in the middle and upper middle class market. We believe that there is a great future for this market. Since our pricing is very reasonable, it is going to be a growing market segment.”

However, he does sound a warning note regarding taxation.

“I think the relevant authorities should take corrective measures to adjust taxes and encourage the middle and upper middle class segment to purchase their housing units. When the government impose VAT and NBT it will negatively affect the market; the prospective buyers may not be able to afford to buy as the prices may go up, making it beyond their reach. If the proposed VAT is imposed, the prices of the apartments we are talking about will go up by a minimum of LKR.3 million. It is a lot of money for the middle & upper middle class buyers. By imposing such taxes, we are discouraging them from buying their own houses or apartments. The authorities should seriously look at this important issue. Affordable taxes and interest rates are a necessity for the growth of this sector.”

He attributes the company’s success to the strength, stability, and the reputation of the Access Group.

“The Group has been in service for 30 years now. Our Chairman Mr.Sumal Perera and Managing Director Mr.Theo Fernando have been together for 30 years, building this group of companies. The Founder Group Directors have put in lot of hard work together to build this company, diversifying its business areas and making it a huge group of companies. That is why Access is Access today. Our Chairman and the management believe in “family concepts”, and treat us like family members. We all work like friends & family. Most of the Access employees have been around for long years. It is very rarely that a person leaves the Access Group. We call it the Access Family. In my three years with Access, none of my staff members has left the company. The same team continues, as we look after them very well. We extend this warmth also to our customers.” I would encourage youngsters to join Access Group because you have a bright future and the feeling of belonging.

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An introduction to the PARADISE Isle

love to talk about Sri Lanka. It has been a favoured destination of travellers for millennia. Ptolemy the cartographer from Alexandria, drew a map of Sri Lanka, two millennia ago, for which he used tales from other travellers. Subsequently, there were travellers like Fa Xian from China and Ibn Battuta from Tangier, who waxed eloquent about the beauty and the riches of this country. Today, we have over two million visitors coming to Sri Lanka.  Colombo airport is rapidly getting congested and there are plans to build a second runway and a second terminal.

From Colombo you could head to the South, where the beaches are still extensive – miles and miles of golden sand, waving palms and gentle waves caressing the shore. The beaches are well-known throughout the world. No wonder Lonely Planet lists Sri Lanka as the top destination for 2019. Then, of course, we the BBC which listed Sri Lankan cuisine as the most favoured food trend in the world.

Today, there are many five-star and six-star hotels available for the traveller. There are other establishments also, but the five-star and six-star hotels in Sri Lanka are legendary. One of them, the Mount Lavinia Hotel, is probably over 200 years old. The Galle Face Hotel has a similar history. There are many modern hotels also. Then of course, we have, in addition to the beaches, the green highlands, covered by tea, where the very air carries the fragrance of tea. It is again, a place where you will find some exclusive residences, boutique hotels and other places where visitors could stay.

From there you go to Kandy, the last citadel of the Sinhalese. Kandy is unique, a relatively small town, with a lake in the middle, and enormous amounts of history and traditional culture. Many visitors prefer to go to Kandy first, because of its legendary past.

From Kandy you would go further north to the Cultural Triangle, where you have places like Dambulla, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura. Anuradhapura was the first capital of the Sinhalese and remained the capital for over 1,200 years. The ruins that one finds all over Anuradhapura are just mind-boggling, including some of the biggest stupas in the world – stupas being relic chambers of the Buddha. The Buddha’s relics were enshrined in these massive stupas. There were other remnants of a glorious past in Anuradhapura. Polonnaruwa has similarly impressive ruins, but it is a mediaeval city.

I would love to see you coming to Sri Lanka and experiencing it for yourself. It is a place you will not regret visiting. In fact, you will go back with memories that will last a lifetime. You may want to come again to this place.

Palitha Kohona

Managing Director

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THE Investment Magazine / RIU Real Estate Update:

THE Investment Magazine / RIU Real Estate Update:

Budget update 2019

16 Things the budget have in store for the real estate sector

The budget proposal for 2019 was tabled to the Parliament on 5 March 2019 by Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera. The RIU welcomes several initiatives proposed in the budget that have the potential to uplift the real estate sector and, is, overall, of the view that such proposed initiatives would drive the demand for real estate in Sri Lanka. The following section will scrutinize the proposals that have a bearing on the real estate sector and their potential impact.

Construction Sector

  1. Proposals have been brought forward to reduce the cost of construction for larger developments. According to this, investments above USD 50mn will be exempted from PAL, CESS and NBT during the project construction period until the commercial operations commence.
  2. In a move to help the local construction companies, new rules will be introduced to compel foreign construction companies to form joint ventures with local firms when bidding for government projects.


  1. The Southern Expressway is a prime example where the southern coastal belt experienced rapid development as connectivity improved. The government indicated that the Ruwanpura expressway project would commence in 2019 and the RIU expects this project to benefit developments in Ratnapura and cities along the way.
  2. The Light Rail Transit project is one of the most anticipated projects and LKR 5,000 m has been allocated in 2019, with LRT the traffic situation being expected to ease. Furthermore, the land prices, especially in suburbs such as Malabe, which are along the LRT passage, are likely to progress.
  3. Colombo City is at the heart of most of the commercial activities in the country. Therefore, the physical outlook of Colombo is essential to instil confidence among potential investors and attract tourists. It is notable that LKR 1,000 m is allocated for the development and maintenance of Colombo City and LKR 8,000 m has been allocated for the urban rejuvenation programme.
  4. The present government’s flagship project, Megapolis, involves developing suburbs to foster liveability and enhance the regional economy. It is observed that LKR 3,000 m has been allocated for the UDA’s “Sukitha Purawara” programme and some of the suburban cities that will be developed under this particular programme are Homagama, Kottawa / Makumbura, Maharagama, Piliyandala, Kaduwela, Battaramulla, and Malabe

 “Sukitha Purawara” programme and some of the suburban cities that will be developed under this particular programme are Homagama, Kottawa / Makumbura, Maharagama, Piliyandala, Kaduwela, Battaramulla, and Malabe

Industrial Real Estate

  1. Several tax incentives have been proposed to be accessible which would spur the growth of new industries. investments approved by BOI exceeding USD 50 m have been granted tax deduction ranging from 100 to 150 % of the expenditure incurred on depreciable assets, excluding intangible assets for a period of 10 years from commercial operations.
  2. In addition, export industries are given a boost with a concessionary rate of 0.25% for turnover from the export of goods or services. With such deals, it is expected that the demand for the industrial real estate, especially in the industrial zones have the potential to progress. As a by-product of this policy, the land prices in close proximity to the industrial zones may see the prices to rise marginally.


Residential Real Estate

  1. As indicated by the RIU data, 15% of the luxury apartment buyers are comprised of foreigners who are likely to be expatriates. A proposal has been put forth to grant residential VISA to foreigners who invest USD 400,000 or more in condominiums. This will help improve the demand for condominiums.
  2. The government presents a loan scheme named “Home Sweet Home” for the newly married couples with 6% concessionary home loan facilities up to LKR 10mn repayable in 25 years. The RIU sees a great opportunity for developers to supply tier 3 apartments and affordable housing units to meet the demand from this proposal.
  3. The government puts forth the “Sihina Maliga” programme which will offer individuals who are employed in other countries to build a house by borrowing up to LKR 10 m, with a grace period of 2 years and a repaying within 15 years. This is another opportunity for developers to supply affordable housing units to cater this market.
  4. Perhaps, the only shortcoming in terms of the real estate sector observed in the current budget is the removal of VAT exemption for condominiums above LKR 15 m. Ongoing RIU research into the socio-economic impact of VAT on the real estate and construction industry indicates some negative blow-back from this initiative that may also impact FDI. More on this later.


Leisure Real Estate

  1. To support the booming tourism industry and strengthen the rupee, NBT will be exempted on foreign currency receipts of specified hotels. Furthermore, the applicable CESS rates have been proposed to reduce. RIU believes that these steps will greatly enhance the profitability of hotels.
  2. LKR 10,900 m has been allocated for the creation and maintenance of urban wetland projects. Urban wetlands can induce setting up commercial undertakings such as hotels in the close neighbourhoods, driving the land prices up.


Commercial Real Estate

  1. Withholding tax will be exempted from rent payments up to LKR 50,000 per month. RIU sees this as a positive initiative towards refining the attractiveness of the grade B and C commercial space.
  2. By 2023, all government offices and commercial buildings should accommodate access to disabled persons. Therefore, the developers need to incorporate relevant design specifications to accommodate this law.


This content is for general information purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisers. This material should not be quoted as authority or used as a basis to commit yourself to a course of action without a study of the relevant laws.


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Business  Opportunity Bulletin

Business Opportunity Bulletin

Opportunity for import & export trade leads


Opportunity to export Cinnamon to Europe

  • Potential buyers needs to export 500 kgs per months
  • L/C basis


Opportunity to export chillies to Mexico

  • The potential supplier needs to export 20 tonnes of chillies to Mexico per month on L/C basis
  • This will be a one year contract


Opportunity to export ferro silicon to Romania

  • The potential supplier needs to export 10 tonnes of ferro silicon to Romania
  • This will be a long term contract


Opportunity to export ferro silicon to Romania

  • The potential supplier needs to export 10 tonnes of ferro silicon to Romania
  • This will be a long term contract


Opportunity to export maize flour for human consumption 10,000 tonnes. 10kg piece

  • Potential suppliers required


Opportunity to supply quartz powder

  • The potential supplier needs to export 500 tonnes of quartz powder to South Korea per month
  • This will be a long term contract


Opportunity to export graphite powder to port of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, china.

  • The potential supplier needs to export 50 tonnes of graphite powder.
  • This will be a long term contract

Joint venture projects | private investment


Investment for an organic fertiliser production company

  • Equity investment for this project is now called for, potential investors who are willing to invest between USD 5 million to USD 10 million

Investment for a 550KV hydro power plant in Sri Lanka

  • Power purchase agreement : 20 Years
  • The project design flow is 1.2 m3 /s, design head being 60 meters
  • Currently entertaining proposals for complete sell out for a price of LKR 125 million ( USD 0.72 million )

Investment for a saltern which is currently in operation in Puttalam (North Western Province of Sri Lanka)

  • The total land size of the saltern is 46 acres (19 ha)
  • Potential investor / strategic partners / salt buyers are invited for foreign direct investment or a composition of a joint venture holding

Investment for a wall panel manufacturing plant

  • The lead technology partner is a reputed British company
  • Hence they are asking for an equity partner and will be offering up to 30 % of the company.


These projects are all available for investment and development through us.Investors interested in finding out more information about these projects should contactDan Vithanage at Opportunity Sri Lanka, at the following email address, telephone or fax:

E-mail             :

Telephone    :    +94112585833 |  +94112593416 | +94 75 0 260 422    Fax :  +94112589334

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