Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in Canada Daya Perera was the keynote speaker at a well-attended plenary session held in Toronto at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites last Thursday. The event attracted a diverse coterie of private sector businessmen in addition to officials from the federal and provincial governments. The theme of the seminar was “Invest in Sri Lanka – Partners in Progress”.
High Commissioner Daya Perera
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has successfully eradicated terrorism from the island nation and liberated Sri Lanka and her people, said High Commissioner Daya Perera.
“There are numerous investment opportunities for infrastructure development in the north east region and the Sri Lankan Diaspora is invited to participate in the rebuilding of the nation. Canada and Sri Lanka have strong bilateral relations based upon shared participation in the Commonwealth. Canada provides development assistance through the Colombo Plan, in addition to the presence of a vibrant community of Canadians of Sri Lankan origin. Sri Lanka’s future in the global knowledge economy of the 21st century depends critically on the country’s intellectual and human capital. Sri Lanka should enhance quality of higher education institutions and produce world-class graduates. Bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Canada reached an all-time high in 2008. Sri Lanka’s GDP growth the same year was 5.95% and there is tremendous potential to expand and enhance commercial ties between Canada and Sri Lanka”, added the High Commissioner.
The plenary session was a collaboration between the Sri Lanka High Commission and Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council. Event organizer Upali Obeyesekere, Executive Secretary of the council left no stone unturned to make the session informative, educational and inter-active. The floor was opened for an information sharing dialogue that proved very effective. Also present were the presidents from Canada-Pakistan Business Council and Canada-India Business Council who had a few interesting questions on the success of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
A few investment projects were also brought to the notice of High Commissioner Daya Perera. Dr. Pon Sivaji spoke of his interest to set up a hospital in the Jaffna region. Universal Building Solutions, a developer spoke of their low cost housing project to build 25,000 units with Canadian technology. Other investors had ideas of building High Rise Condominiums specially in the northern region.
President of the Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council Kula Sellathurai welcomed the guests and invited council chairman Louise Roberge to introduce the keynote speaker. Ms. Roberge remarked in her introduction that, “High Commissioner Daya Perera is an ordinary man with an extraordinary achievement and he is a renowned Lawyer who has completed 50 years at the Sri Lanka Bar”. Deputy High Commissioner C.A.H.M. Wijeratne explained some of the projects from a Sri Lanka government perspective. Upali Obeyesekere said he had read in the Bloomberg News that Asian Development Bank (ADB) plans to increase its lending to Sri Lanka by 50 percent to help the South Asian island rebuild after ending its 26-civil war.
The feedback from the participants of the plenary session was very positive and Sri Lanka can expect heavy investment from Canada.