The hallmark of the FDI destination is to create an investor-centric customer service design. The need for such a design will serve the multifaceted needs of investors. Further, it will lead the system to the next level amidst Industry 4.0. The application of AI, Machine Learning leads to big data analysis, and Cyber manufacturing with the Internet of Things (IoT) brings smart factories, smart agriculture, and autonomous transportation which has become the new normal in today’s context. Hence the data-driven connectivity-enabled business ecosystem will be the gold standard for doing business. The journey of digitization creates a much-needed business ecosystem that attracts the correct type of FDI to the country. The Board of Investment (BOI) as the apex organization of investment promotion in Sri Lanka is the advisor, guide, and facilitator to every investor looking to make a home in Sri Lanka. We are the first point of contact for global and local companies whom we handhold from the day they start exploring Sri Lanka as an investment destination. Therefore, we make every move in the interest of efficacy so that those who interact with the BOI, can do business with ease.
The BOI embarked on its Digital transformation amidst the pandemic and the solution for less human contact aims at a paperless documentation platform where any enterprise registered under the BOI can submit relevant documents electronically without a visit to the BOI office physically. The sole objective of this system is to provide a speedy service to our valued enterprises where processes and procedures have been simplified and streamlined. The system is open to both local and foreign enterprises who aspire to embark on an investment journey with the BOI.
The system comprises six categories. Under the first category, enterprises/Customs House Agents (CHA) can electronically submit import and export Customs Declarations (CUSDECS) along with shipping documents to the BOI computer system (Asycuda Customs Computer System
The second category, which is a Risk Management initiative and auto validation system, automatically validates relevant BOI compliances. When the CUSDEC is submitted to the system by CHA, it is confirmed to BOI by BOI enterprises through the web portal.
Automation of import of chemicals by the BOI enterprises, which is the third category, oversees the import of chemicals and quantities by the BOI enterprises while the submission of annual requirements of chemicals with quantities is updated electronically to the web.
The next category is the automation of import verification charges, where all the charges are automated and recovered when the CUSDECs are submitted to the Asycuda system with the enterprise can see the balance of the prepaid account as well.
Automation of Export Verification Charges, the fifth category aims at reducing verification charges electronically while automatically updating export details. Besides, relevant companies will receive an automated Gate Pass to mobile phones through a technology-driven gate pass system with QR codes.
The automation of capital goods imports, facilitates enterprises to upload the application to BOI through a web portal with no physical presence enabling them to import plants, machinery, and relevant equipment.
The final leg of this digitization is the construction approval of the enterprises. Enterprises can request construction items approval from the Investment department online. After receiving the item approval from the Investment department, enterprises can request quantity approvals from the Engineering department online. After receiving the quantity approvals from the Engineering department, enterprises can proceed with their import transactions online.
The pinnacle of this digitization brings much-needed transparency to the BOI system and is validated by automated audits with accuracy. The automated process to reconcile the imports against the exports is done by the enterprises’ duty-free items. Once this system is implemented, it automatically (previously it was conducted manually with larger human resources cost) reconciles whether the imports and exports are up to the agreed and expected level. If not, the system automatically suspends all the services of the enterprise thus they will not be able to proceed with any further services with the BOI until they match their imports and exports up to the agreed level. This is one of the major breakthroughs in BOI digitization history.
The organically built system is the representation of BOI talent and commitment of its employee IT and Investor services department responsible for the total automation of the CUSDEC system.
In conclusion, the BOI is of the view that the new system has the potential to increase the effectiveness of doing business while identifying new investors and providing value through digital service delivery and signaling to the world that BOI is ready to serve digital enable investors with the highest standard in the world.