Oman Mulls Investment in Colombo and H’tota Prime Properties
BY ISHARA GAMAGE
The Government of Oman has agreed to consider investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, through its Sultanate’s sovereign wealth fund, State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Community Cleanliness, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa told Ceylon FT. He said a non-binding agreement was signed between the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and Oman Shumookh International Investment LLC on 26 July.
“This agreement is valid only for one month. During this period, they are expected to inquire into suitable investment opportunities and reach their final conclusions,” the state Minister said. Meanwhile, a spokesman of the UDA stated that they are currently focusing on large-scale land investments in Colombo and Hambantota Districts.
Their focus is on launching joint ventures between the public and private sectors in selected areas of Colombo Fort, Slave Island and selected areas in Hambantota. Meanwhile, it also learnt that Omanis are also considering investing in the Chalmers Granaries Project. Under this, the Government is already looking for a suitable investor to launch a mixed development project in 2025-26 under a 99-year lease agreement. The Government expects to create about 2,000 jobs under this project.
According to the Government, the Chalmers Granaries Land in Colombo Fort is situated in the prime limits of Colombo Commercial Capital. The proposed mixed development will provide shopping malls, office spaces, high-end commercial spaces, and indoor and outdoor entertainment facilities.
Meanwhile, the Government had decided to accelerate the revival of stalled or underperforming and underutilised Stateowned ventures. The Government has already formed the holding company ‘Selendiva Investments Limited’ under the ownership of the Ministry of Finance and the Board of Directors being appointed by the Treasury. The Sri Lankan Government expects about US$ 400 million this year from State asset disinvestment.
State Minister Godahewa stated that the aim of the Government is to transfer the relevant State assets to new investors through the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) as soon as suitable investors are available.
It was also mentioned that the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Sultanate of Oman Ameer Ajwad recently met Hilal bin Hamad Al Hasani, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates – Madayn and the Chairman of Shumookh Investment and Services of the Sultanate of Oman and briefed on the investment opportunities in Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Ajwad then apprised CEO Al Hasani of the emerging investment opportunities in Sri Lanka in five priority areas which include manufacturing, ICT, Tourism, Agriculture/Food Processing, Construction and Infrastructure.
He also highlighted meaningful tax concessions and incentives introduced by the recently passed Budget 2021, to foreign investors across sectors and investment sizes, while also emphasising a commitment to simplify regulations and improve investor protections. Shumookh Investment and Services, which is the investment arm of Madayn, has also expressed interest for the investment in the area of renewable energy in Sri Lanka.