Local businessman talking about opportunities in Trinco.
Through this BizPact (Business For Peace Alliance) visit I met a few small businessmen in Trincomalee. Ranging from IT to rice mills to land development, there is a range of development going on in Trinco, and excited and capable people to carry it out. These are some YouTube interviews/conversations with a few people. The video above is a member of the Trinco with remarkable enunciation. He’s talking generally about two big opportunities, tourism and fishing. The other YouTubes are conversations about programs for farmers, IT students as well as investment opportunities in concrete businesses like condominium development.
On one level the Chamber of Commerce is doing programs to help people affected by war, from farmers to former militants. At the same time, Trinco businessmen are doing business as usual. Trinco town has always been secured and under government control. However, the large naval base there in proximity to the Sea Tigers north in Mullativu has been a source of constant anxiety. With the end of the Tigers, however, fear of terrorist attack via sea or land is much diminished and people can go about their business. So, fishing has been opened up for Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and whoever and apparently one jetty (Ashroff Jetty) in the harbour is doing commercial shipping.
I spoke to a caterer and she said fishing was only recently opened, required a permit from the Provincial Council and was limited to certain capacity boats. But it is opening, and she was hopeful that this would increase her ability to supply the fantastic seafood that Trinco has to offer. From Koneshewaran Temple I was able to see people fishing for prawns below Lover’s Leap. They supposedly have fantastic tiger prawns (not LTTE affiliated). At night for the first time I saw the horizon dotted with lights, supposedly fishing (dunno).
However, the major investment opportunity I hear people in Colombo ask about is land. Buying bare land is not that easy, but we did meet. S. Jegatheesan, a local developer. He has three properties where he plans to build condominiums. The land is valued at Rs. 250,000/perch in town, Rs. 75,000 a bit out along the Nilaweli Road and Rs. 20,000 a bit further out. The video below is from the third property. The road is still good there and it’s close to town, albeit on the landside. I personally have a soft spot for the last property, even though the road is under construction. They’re building a huge kovil there and I’ve always noticed in when I passed.
He says that he already has orders from diaspora to buy condos there, not necessarily to live but to be close to their families when they visit, or for their families. Tamil diaspora.
This guy is vertically integrated from material to labor to lands and experience, having built the public library, schools, etc. Needs to be checked out, but seems cool. He said he’s going to do this project anyway, by himself, but if investors want to come in so much the better. There’s some limited info on the BPA site, but the guy is quite well organized and worth contacting. For info about this or the other properties contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Besides that, Trinco has great opportunities in terms of its fishery, agricultural and human resources. Below are two local small businessmen.
This is Mr. Hassan. He’s looking for investment to expand his rice mill. Here he’s talking about the various agricultural opportunities in the area.
This is Mr. Kalaichelvam. Here he is talking about the potential for expanding IT business in the area. Personally, I think there’s an immediate opportunity for developing education there. They have broadband, I was using Dialog 3G/HSPA Mobile Broadband around Orr’s Hill and town without difficulty. In fact, all these videos except one are uploaded from there directly, and they’re each like 500 MB.
More to the point, Trinco is naturally blessed. It has one of the largest natural deep sea harbours in the world, fish, agriculture, and beauty. The people are also, as you can tell, almost uniformly bi or trilingual. The place is a mix of Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim and they seem able to communicate business in almost any language. They are also ready and eager to start. It was quite cheering to see their enthusiasm, and how the diaspora investors on the trip practically swarmed them like piranhas.
Trinco is happening. The roads are being much and visibly improved, the Board Of Investment is setting up industrial zones and tax holidays, and the port is reopening for business. And it’s happening for all people, Tamil, Sinhala, Muslim, diaspora, whatever. With stability and without terrorism there is so much opportunity in Trincomalee and the whole of Sri Lanka. I suggest we make the most of it.