A former finance minister said that the country can gain more from the service sector, provided government ensures a conducive investment climate.
"The industry based on knowledge has led the developed countries to their current status," said former finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat here addressing a seminar on 'Central Nepal: The Land of Opportunity', organised by Nepal Investment Board, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), and Chitwan Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the Chitwan Mahotsav here today.
If we go by evidence of various developed countries, natural resources is not the key to development, he said, adding that the country has to tap the manpower and biological diversity that can lead Nepal to prosperity. "If the government can ensure a conducive investment climate, Nepal will not face a problem with capital as foreigners are ready to invest in the country. But the government itself is creating hurdles in development activities, making foreign investors shy away."
He was of the opinion that the country has to see a new structural change as the manufacturing sector is not Nepal's competitive advantage. It is rather the service sector, tourism, education and health, he added. "Chitwan's Sauraha is one of the largest tourist recipient destinations in the country," Mahat said.
Entrepreneurs also asked the government to shift its focus to the service sector rather than focusing on manufacturing as the country has more competitive advantage in the service sector.
"Nepalis are the best hosts in the world," said former FNCCI president and Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry executive committee vice chairman Pradeep Kumar Shrestha. "The country should exploit its competitive advantages," he said, adding that tourism has huge potential that could help in the country's economic growth.
The country should market tourism products, said FNCCI vice president Pradeep Jung Pandey, on the occasion. "Pokhara, Chitwan and Lumbini could be promoted by forming a tourism triangle in the country," he said, adding that the government should promote the sector to make the country self reliant.
Nepali ambassador to Russia Ravi Mohan Kopila, on the occasion, said that Russian investors are enthusiastic about investing in Nepal.Though the country has announced fiscal year 2012-13 as Investment Year, it has not yet been able to generate enough enthusiasm at home and abroad. Nepal Investment Board had last week asked for projects that it could market in the international arena.