MUSCAT – The first-ever visit of 17 member high level Omani business delegation to Sri Lanka from the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), organised by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oman was successfully concluded.
The high level business delegation was led by Eng. Redha Bin Juma Al Saleh, Chairman of the OCCI which is the sole representative of the entire private sector of Oman. Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Sultanate of Oman Ameer Ajwad received the delegation at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Sri Lanka and accompanied the delegation during the visit. Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to Sri Lanka Sheikh Juma Hamdan Al Shehhi also associated during the meetings.
The purpose of the visit was to explore opportunities available in trade and investment between Sri Lanka and the Sultanate of Oman and to establish business links between the private sectors of the two countries. The delegation paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, briefed him on the progress made during their visit and expressed their keen interest in closer economic engagement with Sri Lanka. Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Ajith Nivard Gabral and Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayake were also present during the meeting.
The delegation also had productive meetings with the Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardena, Labour Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva together with State Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Market Diversification Priyankara Jayaratne as well as State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya during the visit. A range of areas of mutual interest including promotion of trade, investment, tourism, employment opportunities were discussed.
Members of the Omani delegation who represented Omani manpower recruitment agencies, met with the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment ( SLBFE) and discussed issues related to Sri Lankan labour recruitment in Oman and agreed to increase employment opportunities under Government regulated arrangements.
One of the highlights of the visit was the Business Forum followed by B2B meetings held between the visiting Omani delegation and their Sri Lankan counterparts, organised by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL ) at the Chamber Auditorium in Colombo. A large number of Sri Lankan companies participated during the B2B meetings. Ambassador Ameer Ajwad, President of the NCCSL Nandika Bhuddipala, Chairman of the OCCI Eng. Redha AlSalih addressed the Business Forum. Presentations by the Sri Lanka Board of Investment (BOI) as well as the Colombo Port City were made during the Forum highlighting the opportunities available for investments in Sri Lanka. The Chairpersons of the NCCSL and the OCCI physically signed the MoU which was virtually signed in July last year, between the two Chambers for the promotion of business between the two countries. A Letter of Intent (LoI) between Sri Lanka’s popular Ayurvedic company, Siddhalepa (Pvt) Ltd and Oman’s Lama Poly Clinic LLC was signed for introducing Siddhalepa Ayurvedic products and services in the Sultanate of Oman.
The Omani business delegation had a fruitful meeting with the Sri Lanka State Trading Corporation (STC) and discussed ways and means for trading between Sri Lanka’s State sector and Oman’s private sector. During the meeting with the Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Omani business delegation was briefed of different investment opportunities in tourism sector in Sri Lanka and it was proposed to organize joint programmes for tourism promotion between the two countries. BOI Executive Director of Katunayake Export Processing Zone made a presentation to the visiting Omani business delegation on the BOI operations and opportunities available for investment in Sri Lanka.
The Omani business delegation also met with the President of Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) and explored opportunities for collaboration in the ICT & BPM sectors. The delegation also interacted with the Chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka and both sides exchanged information of doing business in both countries. The members of the delegation also met with the Chairman of Coconut Research Board as well as representatives from Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association.
During the visit, Omani delegation also undertook field visits to the factories of Sri Lanka’s popular brand companies such Akbar Brother’s Tea Packing Centre, SMAK Food Processing Factory, Isabella Apparel Factory at Katunayake Free Trade Zone and Siddhalepa Ayurveda Hospital at Dehiwala -Mount Lavinia. The delegation also visited Colombo Port City project, Sri Lanka’s new special economic zone reclaimed from the sea.
State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya hosted to an official dinner in honour of the visiting OCCI high level delegation at Waters Edge- Sri Lanka.
The members of the high level delegation included Ali Hamdan AlAjmi, OCCI Board member and Chairman of the Committee on Services and Information Technology, Anwar Hamed Said Al Sinani, Borad member and the Chairman of South A Sharqia Governorate, His Highness Khalid Mohamed Salim AlSaeed, as well as Chairpersons and CEOs of leading Omani private sector companies in different sectors including construction, consultancy, medical services, food supply, advertising services, manufacturing of medical equipment, fruits & vegetables , food supply, garments, building material, electronics, manpower supply, conference management etc.
The high level visit by the Omani business delegation to Sri Lanka was coordinated by the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Regional Cooperation of Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Oman.
(Source: Embassy of Sri Lanka, Muscat)