Tycoon appointed crisis-hit Sri Lanka's minister for investment promotion


FILE PHOTO: Vehicle owners wait in a queue to buy petrol due to fuel shortage, amid the country's economic crisis, in Colombo, Sri Lanka June 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's president on Friday appointed tycoon Dhammika Perera as minister for investment promotion, his office said in a statement, as the crisis-hit country struggles to find foreign exchange to import food, fuel and drugs.

A major Sri Lankan investor who holds stakes in dozens of companies, Perera replaced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's brother in parliament earlier this month after he stepped down.

Basil Rajapaksa, the president's younger brother, previously served as finance minister.

"Dhammika Perera is a very successful businessman and he has come out with several proposals on how Sri Lanka can emerge from this crisis," Sagara Kariyawasam, General Secretary of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party, told Reuters. "We will watch with optimism."

Perera, one of the richest businessmen in Sri Lanka, has investments in companies spanning manufacturing, banking and finance, leisure, plantations and power generation.

Sri Lanka is in the midst of its worst financial crisis since independence in 1948. Foreign exchange reserves have dropped to record lows leaving it struggling to pay for essential imports and triggering shortages and months of protests.

Sri Lanka is aiming to attract $1 billion in investment despite the crisis and has a pipeline of lucrative projects, especially in renewable energy.

Perera's ministry will have oversight of several key government agencies including Sri Lanka's board of investment and the IT industry regulator, both of which were previously under the president, according to a gazette issued this month.

(Reporting by Uditha Jayasinghe, Writing by Devjyot Ghoshal, Editing by Catherine Evans and Nick Macfie)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In World

Man wanted by Saudi police detonates suicide belt, injuring 4 in Jeddah on Wednesday - SPA
Chef Andres urges unity on Ukraine food aid ahead of harsh winter
U.N. humanitarian agencies face record funding gap this year
Sadr followers hold mass prayer outside Iraqi parliament in show of force
Australian court fines Google US$42.7mil for fraud in personal data collection
UK’s data regulator yet to enforce single child protection case
Boat capsizes crossing river in northern India, three killed, 17 missing
Iran says EU proposal to revive nuclear deal could be 'acceptable'
Risk of new wildfires in southwestern France as heatwave persists
Italy's right pledges tax cuts, immigration curbs, welfare reform

Others Also Read