Several projects launched in Seychelles by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his tenure, are on the brink of closure, media reports said today.
Bank of Ceylon (BOC), Sri Lanka Insurance, Mihin Lanka and Nawaloka
Hospital opened up their respective offices coinciding with Rajapaksa’s
visit to Seychelles in June 2014.
Sources told The Sunday Leader that operations of Sri Lanka Insurance
curtailed reportedly within a period of two months. According to
employees of the insurance company, the Seychelles office was intended
to be ‘temporary’ as the decision to close the operation was taken at
the very inception. Nawaloka Hospital Seychelles is scheduled to cease
its operations by the end of this month after reportedly recording a
loss of Rs 5.2 million, hospital employees said.
Meanwhile Bank of Ceylon (BOC), Seychelles Branch was reporting
tremendous loses and its staff was limited to three employees. However
the Bank was upbeat on turning around.
“I started working in this from on the 22 January 2015. Before that
this branch was incurring a loss of SCR (Seychellois Rupees) 440,000
which is approximately 4,976,400 in Sri Lankan Rupees. When I took over
the branch in 2015 I did some changes. Now the customer base has gone up
to eight hundred and fifty out of which two hundred and fifty are Sri
Lankans domiciled in Seychelles. Meantime, profits have increased. This
went on record as the first overseas branch to report profits within one
and half years,” BoC Seychelles Country Manager R.A. Kularathne told
The Sunday Leader.
BoC had reported a profit of Rs 32 million in 2015, The Sunday Leader learns.
However, the High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in the Republic of
Seychelles Tikiri Herath Gunathilaka said that despite some of
Rajapaksa’s pet projects closing down, many other Sri Lankan companies
were interested in commencing operations in Seychelles.
“In fact discussions regarding setting up a branch of Lanka Hospitals is ongoing.”
He further stated that it is easy to start companies but the lack of
proper strategy to continue those companies is the main reason for such
failures. Nevertheless, he stressed that the speculation on closing
down of the BOC branch was false and there was great potential for Sri
Lankan investments related to health, higher education, fisheries and
other businesses in Seychelles.
He further pointed out that negotiations are currently underway
between two countries in relation to the establishment of a Buddhist
temple to forge stronger cultural ties. (Colombo Gazette)