Entire BOI Board Quits

By Mario Andree | Published: 2:00 AM Dec 3 2021

By Mario Andree 

Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman Sanjaya Mohottala, Director General Pasan Wanigasekara and the four directors have resigned from their posts. According to information received by Ceylon FT, Directors, Dr. Harsha Cabraal, Harsha Subasinghe and Sanjay Kulatunga have resigned citing inability to work with the current management. 

Reasons for BOI Chairman Sanjaya Mohottala, Director General Pasan Wanigasekara and Director Jayamin Pelpola resignations are uncertain. Last month, Ceylon FT reported that for the first time in its 43-year history, All Executive Directors, Directors and Unions at the BOI had unanimously decided to unite against actions taken by the Chairman Sanjaya Mohottala and Director General Pasan Wanigasekara.

Some of the allegations levelled by them, against the heads of BOI, were misuse of funds, attempts to privatise BOI zones, destabilising revenue generating departments, misleading Cabinet members, attempting to recruit friends and family on higher salaries and outsourcing BOI operations. These allegations were denied by Chairman Sanjaya Mohottala. 

Issuing a statement in response to the recent resignations, the BOI said: “Prominent members of the Board of Directors of the Board of Investment have stepped down from their positions. The Chairman, members of the Board of Directors and Director General assumed office with the singular intent of supporting the President’s vision to double Sri Lanka’s GDP in this decade. In line with this, the Board of Investment’s role in transforming the country into a preferred investment destination by creating a compelling investment climate arose through the conceptualisation and execution of strategic and proactive investment promotions. 

To achieve this strategic agenda, the Cabinet and the leadership team of the Board of Investment recognised that many transformations were required internally to enable the Board of Investment to compete against over 1,000 international promotion agencies active globally. They also recognised that this task could not be achieved in silos and that collaborative efforts, through a public-private partnership model was essential.

 This included the infusion of specialist skills through the acquisition of new talent for selected positions and also the obtaining of specialist professional services to attract and create new investment portfolios to stimulate the country’s trajectory towards a knowledge driven economy. Unfortunately, the efforts of the leadership to achieve this urgently required transformation, was strongly and continuously resisted by isolated factions both within and outside the organisation, who have put their self-interest over the public.

 Such factions either failed or refused to comprehend the competitive realities of the international promotion landscape, in which Sri Lanka needs to compete much more effectively, if it is to attract FDI at the scale the country needs. It is also a matter of regret that the progressive agenda of the leadership has come into question in public fora, also implying mismanagement based on events that occurred during 2017 and 2019, a period prior to the time of the current leadership. The many distortions and misconceptions publicised about the Board of Investment as a result of this confusion, has affected the reputation of the Board of Investment internationally, as well as the reputations of its key personnel.”

By Mario Andree | Published: 2:00 AM Dec 3 2021

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