Government reforms registration, licensing policy to attract investment
The government has
reformed registration procedures for approval of licensing and approval of
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) eliminating seven steps in the FDI approval
process to create investment-friendly climate.
"The Licensing Reform Task Force has completed the two reforms," said
joint secretary of the Economic and Infrastructure Development Division of
Office of Prime Minister and Council of Minister Mahendra Man Gurung addressing
the opening session of 'Doing Business workshop' organised to discuss on how to
improve investment climate by reforming the laws to ease doing business.
"Some of the work procedures are also being prepared to simplify herb
exports, he said, adding that the government is also launching a licensing
electronic portal by the end of this month. "It will be a one-stop-shop
for all the licenses, permits, related laws and regulations and necessary
The portal, currently, serves as an information hub for businessmen, though the
government plans to make it interactive in future.
At a time, when the regular bandh is hurting the business confidence of the
private sector, the government has claimed that it is serious to improve
investment climate in close cooperation with the private sector.
The government is also serious in improving ranking in the Doing Business- the
World Bank publication, he added.
The government would like to see how it can improve the country's ranking in
the Doing Business report, Gurung said, adding that Nepal can create investment
friendly climate for both domestic investors and foreign investors by improving
the ranking in the report. "Without the private sector’s involvement,
rapid economic growth — that creates jobs and economic opportunities — cannot
take place,” he added.
Likewise, Inland Revenue Department, Ministry of Finance and Office of the
Company Registrar, Ministry of Industry have signed a memorandum of
understanding to share data and provide permanent account number (PAN) at the
time of company registration reducing a lot of paperwork and hassles for
businesses and industries.
The process is in the final stages, according to the Company Registrar Keshav
Thapa. "It will reduce the procedures to start a business, which currently
comprises seven procedures."
Joint secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies Naindra Prasad
Upadhyaya and director at the Department of Customs under the Ministry of
Finance Shyam Dahal presented reform initiatives proposed in trade
facilitation, where Nepal’s ranked 162 in Doing Business 2012.
These include harmonisation of customs working hours with India, streamlining
and consolidation of trade-related documents — for exports and imports — and
preparation of an inventory of trade related fees and charges, and automation.
Ministry of Commerce and Supplies and Ministry of Finance are also working on
to reduce unnecessary documents required at the time of export and introducing
Any Branch Banking System to ease the burden on businesses to deposit revenue
at any of the branches of the bank. It has also requested to map and develop
action plans for the coming year to reform in their areas to crease favourable
Chairperson of Industry Committee of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of
Commerce and Industry Dinesh Shrestha, on the occasion said that the private
sector has taken the government's reform measures positively.
"The private sector feels encouraged that the government is giving high
importance to economic issues," he said, adding that political change
should be for economic progress.
The 'Doing Business Workshop' — organised jointly by the Office of the Prime
Minister and Council of Ministers, Ministry of Industry and Nepal Business
Forum (NBF) secretariat — also reviewed progress on reforms aiming at improving
Nepal's performance against the World Bank’s Doing Business indicators,
published annually by the World Bank Group. The annual Doing Business report
ranks countries in terms of ease of doing business. Nepal has been ranked 107th
on ease of doing business out of 183 economies in Doing Business 2012.
Improvement in the ranking due to reforms will help attract FDI because the
prospective investors' decide on the basis of country’s ranking in the Doing
The workshop also discussed on how to support the Investment Year 2012-13 by
reviewing reforms in four major areas like Starting a Business, Dealing with
Construction Permits, Paying Taxes and Trading across Borders.
International Finance Corporation (IFC) representative Shyamal Shrestha, on the
occasion, made a presentation on Doing Business 2012 and strategy for
successful reforms while joint secretary at the Ministry of Industry Anil Kumar
Thakur lauded NBF’s initiative for undertaking reforms. "Nepal is in the
transition phase and the government has not been able to carry out reforms
drastically but the scenario is encouraging," he added.
The NBF — created by the government's executive order in May 2010 — provides a
platform for public-private dialogue for speeding up reforms and is chaired by
the Prime Minister.