Lahore: A three member delegation from Sri Lanka visited PBIT to discuss bilateral trade. Ranjith Bandara, Minister for Public Administration and Management (Sri Lanka) was heading the envoy. Accompanying him was Gamini Rathnayaka, CEO of Gal-Oya Plantations, Udyama Kurukularatne and Tousif Peracha, CEO of Gharibwal Group.
Chairman, Abdul Basit represented PBIT in the meeting. The discussion focused around expanding trade and investment between the two countries. The delegation stressed upon the benefits of multiple small scale hydro power generation units along the canal system. Gal-Oya is keen to invest in these units allover Punjab. The minister said that Sri Lanka is meeting 50% of its energy needs from such units and Pakistan has one of the largest canal systems in the word so it can benefit greatly.
The Minister also said that the trade balance between the two countries is 90% favorable towards Pakistan as Pakistan’s exports to Sri Lanka being much greater than its imports.
Mr. Kurukularatne raised the point that the non-trade barriers between the countries are the biggest hurdle in the way of free trade agreement.
Mr. Basit proposed to enhance the spice trade between the countries as Sri Lanka is one of the biggest consumers of spices in the world. Both parties stressed on promoting tourism and collaborating in the fields of training and education.
It was also decided that Pakistan will send a business delegation to Sri Lanka in the near future and feasibilities will be shared with the Sri Lankan business community prior to the delegation’s visit so that concrete results can be obtained.
The delegation led by Minister for Public Administration & Management Ranjith Madduma Bandara also met Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, here today.
Matters of mutual interest, bilateral relations and promotion of cooperation in agriculture, education, health, tourism, skill development and public administration were discussed in the meeting.
The Sri Lankan delegation expressed keen interest in investment in small hydel projects in Punjab.