Business Times

Money flows into Jaffna Peninsula from a million Tamil expats

By Quintus Perera

The northern Jaffna peninsula is poised for a tremendous economic resurgence due to money flowing in from Sri Lankan expatriates and ably supported by the Indian Government in the post-war era and this impending boom is reflected in the 20 banks including international banks being located within an area of half a kilometre, according to a trade leader of the area.

K. Pooranachandran, Chairman, Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam speaking at the launch of Jaffna International Trade Fair 2012 (JITF) this week in Colombo said that more than 50 % of the people in the region are affluent and many of the population of around two million in the peninsula are working in foreign countries.

He said, “3 ½ lakhs are working in the UK, 3 lakhs are in the USA, 3 ½ lakhs are working in Canada and also large numbers work in countries like Switzerland, Norway, etc and all of them send money here”. He said that, that is why all these banks have pitched their branches here in Jaffna. These funds would be used for economic development of the area.

He said “why all these banks in Jaffna? Because lot of money is coming to Jaffna”. He said that in that area there is enough room for investment opportunities. He said that Colombo based companies have set up their branches and also international agencies in the peninsula.

When Business Times (BT) asked him whether anything is lacking to impede this development activities, his answer was ‘no’. He said when they started the first JITF in 2010 there were lots of hardships like the poor road network and there were no hotels and not enough accommodation, but in 2011 for the second JITF the conditions have improved and now everything is in place such as there is a superb road network, not only in the case of major roads, but also interior rural roads and infrastructure is also parallel to other development activities.

He told the BT that the Indian Government is helping the peninsula in a big way undertaking to construct the Port, Airport and the Railway and therefore with funds flowing in economic development in the peninsula is ensured.

He said that there are plenty of hotels too are there to augment this impending development where tourism could also play a major role in this sphere. JIFT is scheduled to take place on January 20, 21 and 22, 2012 at the former open air stage area adjoining the Jaffna Public Library. The event is organized by Lanka Exhibitions and Conference Services Pvt Ltd (LECS). The 2011 JIFT drew 40,000 visitors.

LECS indicated that last year there were more than 200 international investors and there were more than 240 companies represented. India too is involved in major promotion and it is expected that a large Indian delegation upto 80 Indian companies would participate in the trade fair.

The prime objective of this trade fair is to help business entities of various industries to set themselves up in the peninsula which had been long relegated to the back business as an area too risky to invest in. Now these constraints are no more and the doors are wide open to entrepreneurs and established business to operate in a conducive environment.

FITF 2012 is co-organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sri Lanka in association with the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yalpanam (CCIY).

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