Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Word of Caution on Investing in Sri Lanka - Part 2

In my blog post "A Word of Caution on Investing in Sri Lanka - Part 1" we looked at some of the potential risks and dangers of investing in Sri Lankan land and properties. In this second instalment we'll take a closer look at other areas of investing, such as the stock market and local business opportunities.

Late last year, the newly-appointed BoI chairman Dumindra Ratnayaka reportedly stated that "foreign direct investments into Sri Lanka are expected to reach US$1.5 billion in 2017, almost double that of 2016".

However, at the end of 2017 there was a great deal of uncertainty around the local government elections, 2018 budget, lack of clarity on new taxes and changes to key legislation, and levels of foreign funds flowing in and out of the country that reflected investor concerns. Debate around Sri Lanka's Budget 2018, the enactment of a new Sri Lankan Foreign Exchange Act after delays, and questions around the real winners and losers of all these new taxes and legislative changes had been the focus in the news for the latter part of 2017.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Amendments to Sri Lankan Visa Regulations for Foreigners

This week the Sri Lankan Government approved a series of amendments to the Immigrants and Emigrants Act No. 20 of 1948, which will mean favourable changes to existing visa regulations for foreign nationals and former Sri Lankan citizens.

Many of these changes relate to longer stay visas and will be welcomed as positive change by foreign nationals or expats in Sri Lanka, particularly foreign investors, employees and spouses.

One of the banes of expat life in Sri Lanka has been the regular and frequent visits to the Department of Immigration and Emigration ("DIE") to renew your visa. As time has passed, the process to apply or renew your visa in Sri Lanka has become a little smoother, a tad more efficient, and the offices of DIE have moved to a better locale. These latest changes will be a welcome relief as well as to encourage the foreign influx into the country.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

UPDATED: Expat News, Articles of Interest and Diary Events #16

We're into the home stretch now...! Can you believe it's December already? Where has the year gone? It's been one helluva year, that's for sure. I'm still reeling from the past eleven months and, as I mentioned in my last blog post on resilience, I can't help but think what else is in store for us before the year comes to a close.

It's feeling pretty festive already, though I've hardly noticed because I've had my nose to the grindstone. But it did come of leap out at me while I was at the airport a couple of nights ago. I think the Christmas trees and decorations around the arrivals area and the large crowds gave it that festive feel.

My family has been pressuring me to fly back to spend Christmas with them. Cyclone Ockhi and the tropical storm system that had battered through Sri Lanka a few days ago made them all the more adamant. But I'm kind of sitting on the fence with it because (a) this might be my last Christmas in Sri Lanka (b) if I go back I might actually have to make a decision about it because my family will probably want me to draw a line in the sand (c) I sort of want to book a holiday away with friends and press the pause button (d) part of me isn't feeling very festive at all, and (e) all this adulting is hard work (*sigh*)

Thursday, November 30, 2017

What Sri Lanka teaches you about resilience

I woke up this morning tired and feeling the effects of the night before. Last night was not a night for sleeping peacefully. Gale force winds, heavy torrential rain, water leaks coming from the roof, sounds of things flying off rooftops, lightning, anxiety about trees coming down, power cuts and things of that nature provided the ingredients for an unsettled night. Lucky for me this morning, my house was still in one piece and not much damage nor injury had come of last night. The same could not be said for some of my neighbours and other parts of the island. And for that my heart is heavy. 

When I reflect upon what we have been through as an island this year, I can't help but ask "is there more to come in December?".

From challenges such as floods, droughts, fuel shortages, power shortages, water shortages, landslides and garbage dump disasters, union strikes, massive corruption and scams, inflation hikes, tax regime changes and other things, we have undoubtedly faced a battering.

But even as I pose the question as to what December will bring, I also can't help but acknowledge an important and defining quality that comes with life in Sri Lanka, and that is the capacity for resilience.