Sri Lanka's Board of Investment (BOI) has approved 23 new apparel and textile investments from January to June this year under the government's 300 factories programme.

"We have approved 23 projects in wearing apparel and textiles, worth LKR3,744m (US$37.44m)," said BOI chairman Prof Lakshman Watawala speaking at a seminar organised by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka.

"Total expected employment generation by these projects is 12,396," said Watawala.

However, the commercial operation of these new investments is expected to take some time. Under the 300 factories programme the BOI has approved 73 projects in total, in various categories including the garment sector, but has signed agreements with just 32 projects. Only 20 of these investments are currently under construction.

New investments in apparel and textiles entering Sri Lanka through the BOI, under the 300 factories programme, are entitled to a host of incentives - provided the investment is located outside the districts of Colombo and Gampaha.

Factories set up in areas classified under non-difficult, difficult and most difficult, receive tax holidays of between five and ten years. Any new plant and machinery imported for the investment will be exempt from VAT and customs duties and the BOI will assist in finding suitable land to locate the factory.

However, a minimum investment of LKR30m is required and 80% of production must be exported to qualify for the incentives. 

By Dilshani Samaraweera.