Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai claimed that his government is working with an aim to generate huge job opportunity to increase Nepal's per capita income to atleast $3,000.
"The government is planning to invest 45 per cent of the total gross domestic product (GDP) to create 400,000 to 500,000 jobs every year in the country," he said, inaugurating the fifth Non-Nepalese Residents Association (NRNA) global conference here in the Valley today.
Dr Bhattarai also sought the NRNs help in bringing investments to Nepal as the country is observing the year 2012 as Nepal Investment Year. "The government is willing to utilise NRNs global network for the development of Nepal as they have experience, skill and capital, which the country needs," he said, adding that the government has formed Nepal Investment Year 2012 national steering committee that will also include NRNs.
Socio-economic disparity is the mother of all conflicts, he said, adding, "thus our priority is economic revolution after the conclusion of peace process and constitution drafting."Deferring to the public perception that there is no domestic market, the fifth Prime Minister after the country is declared Republic said, Nepal with its 26.6 million population is a huge market compared to other markets. "If we add our southern and northern market too, it will be the 37 per cent of the total global market," he said, urging the NRNs to take advantage of it by investing in hydropower, tourism, infrastructure, and commercial agriculture in Nepal. "NRNs should invest in Nepal themselves and also help bring foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as they are also the ambassadors of Nepal.
"He also committed to create investment-friendly environment. "Government is committed to provide legal and administrative teeth for the NRNs to invest in the country," vowed the Prime Minister, who represents the UCPN-Maoist that has a militant trade union, which time and again, creates industrial unrest.
"The government has already passed Investment Board Act to facilitate the huge investment above Rs 25 billion through single window," informed Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun, chairing the session, 'Mobilising NRN Collective Investment for Development of Nepal'.
Appealing the NRNs to invest in Nepal, he informed that the government will not ask for the source of income, if the investors invest in five priority sectors including huge infrastructure like tunnel highway.
Pun, a former UCPN-Maoist People's Army vice commander, also asked the NRNs to invest in sick public enterprises like Hetauda Textile. "The government is ready to discuss the forms of partnership, if the NRNs are willing to run the sick public enterprises," he said, adding that mere promises from the government and NRNs — both — will take the country to nowhere. He suggest the NRNs to translate their earlier promises into reality and the government will also evaluate its weaknesses.
"It’s high time, we walk the talk," agreed the patron of NRNA Bhim Udas, presenting his paper in the session. He also shared some investment modalities with the NRNs.Since its establishment in 2003, the NRNA has been promising of huge investment but except some projects worth around Rs 450 million in the last eight years, they have no visible and transparent investment in the country.
Every two year, they meet in Kathmandu ritually and hold discussions on how to contribute towards the mother land — in their own words — but except for some individual NRNs, the association's involvement in development of the country is negligible.