The government will reactivate the Achchuveli Economic Zone and open it to international investors, Governor of the Northern Province, P. S. M. Charles told the gathering at the launch of the 11th edition of the Jaffna International Trade Fair (JITF) at the Muttraveli grounds in Jaffna on Friday, January 31.
JITF, the biggest and one of a kind event in the Northern Province ends today. Mr. Charles said that four companies are in operation but there is tremendous potential for more.
“I did an observation tour of the zone and found that there is almost nine acres of fully developed land available for investors,” she said.
The zone also has 65 acres idling land and there is a need to come up with a program to develop it. She said that though the Board of Investment does not come under her purview, she will talk to the Regional BOI and try to get them to be more active in wooing investors to the region.
Ms. Charles also spoke to some of the Malaysian investors who were at the exhibition on developing the region.
“The Palali International Development Program would take effect this year and Cabinet approval has been granted to develop the Kankasanthurai Harbour with Indian government assistance. These two projects would add value to Jaffna as a destination for investment as travel time would be narrowed,” she also said.
Ms. Charles noted that due to the conflict, the Northern region lost not only lives, but property and businesses and they were pushed back almost 40 years. There is lot of catching up to do. “Now the time is ripe to catch up with the rest of the regions,” she said.
Consul General of India in Jaffna, Shri S. Balachandran and the Mayor of Jaffna, Emmanuel Arnold were special invitees at the opening ceremony.
The event was organised by Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services (Pvt) Ltd. in association with the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yalpanam with the support of the Jaffna Municipal Council, International Business Council, Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Consulate General of India in Jaffna.