Deputy prime Minister and finance minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari said that Nepal needs to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in the hydropower, infrastructure and mines sectors.
"Nepal needs to attract more FDI from other countries including from India,” he said, inaugurating the 16th annual general meeting (AGM) of Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI) here in the valley today.
“The current security related issues are temporary because of the transition period the country is passing through,” he said, adding that Nepal should think of increasing its exports and take advantage from the rising economic powers like China and India. “India’s help is crucial in solving the power crisis and boost for the economic development,” he added.
“India has contributed a lot to the development of Nepal,” said Indian ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood. “Around 45 per cent of FDI in Nepal is from India, he said, adding that the Indian investments in Nepal have generated some 30,000 jobs directly and the double the number indirectly to the Nepalis.
However, he complained of the discouraging investment environment in Nepal for the Indian investors currently. “The current issues have discouraged the new investments from India,” he said, also urging Nepal to check on diversion of third country goods to India and Intellectual Property Rights violation of the popular Indian brands.
Sood opined that the NICCI can play a key role in boosting Indian investors confidence and further strengthen the bilateral economic and trade ties.
On one hand trade ties with India is increasing and the other the trade deficit is also increasing that has doubled to Rs 317 billion between 2008 and 2010.
"Nepal has to think on how to bridge the trade deficit gap,"
Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) president Kush Kumar Joshi, said, adding that Nepal could not take advantage of the Nepal-India Trade Treaty -- due to its own internal reasons -- that could help reduce the trade deficit.
Joshi also urged to open custom points and expedite refund of excise duty as stated in the treaty. Similarly, Nepal Chambers of Commerce (NCC) president Surendra Bir Malakar also requested to simplify the cross border trade. "Revised trade treaty between the two South Asian neighbours has addressed many issues," he said, adding that both the countries should encourage formal trade.
Welcoming the guests, NICCI president Arun Kumar Chaudhary said that Nepal could not harness the hydropower despite the regular power outage that could derail the development in the long run. "More than trade deficit, Nepal is suffering from Balance of Payment (BoP) deficit," he said, adding, there will be more issues once the trade increases. "The NICCI is playing the role of facilitator in the issues," he added.
NICCI has been established in 1994 to promote or make arrangements for promoting contacts and co-operation among industrialists, businessmen and other professional groups of Nepal and India, and work as a non-profit-making organisation.
Change of guard
KATHMANDU: NICCI on Tuesday elected its new team led by Sanjiv Keshava, general manager of Surya Nepal. He was executive committee member in the last committee led by Arun Kumar Chaudhary.