Thursday, January 24, 2019

Stakeholders welcome amendments in SEZ Act

Stakeholders today opined that the recent amendments in the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) Act will encourage investors towards injecting investments in the SEZs.
Addressing a roundtable discussion on ‘Problems faced by industries inside the Bhairahawa SEZ', organised by the Society of Economic Journalists of Nepal (Sejon) in the capital today, they said that the government’s decision to reduce the compulsory export provision for industries inside SEZ to 60 per cent from existing 75 per cent is investment-friendly. "It will encourage the private sector towards investing in such protected zones," they added.
With various amendments intended to lighten up the export provisions for industries inside SEZ and assure further tax incentives, the cabinet had endorsed the SEZ Bill last week. The SEZ Bill has been tabled at the Parliament for the final nod.
Along with reducing the mandatory export provision for industries operating within the SEZ to 60 per cent of their production, the new SEZ Bill also assures 100 per cent income tax waiver for such industries for the first five years and 50 per cent income tax waiver thereafter. Likewise, the Bill has also reduced the rental fee for industries within SEZ to Rs 20 per square meter per month from Rs 150 per square meter month.
Furthermore, the SEZ Bill has also reduced the minimum investment ceiling for industries inside SEZ to Rs 20 million from Rs 50 million.
"The SEZ Act has been amended keeping in priority to boost the morale of investors inside the SEZ," executive director of SEZ Authority Nepal Chandika Bhatta said. "If necessary, we can be further flexible in the export provision for such industries in future,” he said, adding that the new SEZ Bill has also incorporated a provision whereby industries inside SEZ get all assured tax waiver facilities under the recommendation of SEZ Authority itself.
Speaking at the discussion programme, former vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Dr Shankar Sharma said that though the SEZ Bill has attempted to promote investment inside the SEZs, the government should now focus on effective implementation of the SEZ Bill. "The new SEZ Bill has addressed some of the key issues raised by investors inside the SEZ," he said, adding that it, however, is crucial that the government implements the law properly through enhanced cooperation between the government agencies.
Likewise, director general at the Department of Customs Toyam Raya said that available laws of the government are contradictory resulting to difficulty in their effective implementation. "Thus, the government should ensure that any laws should not contradict with one another while bringing them,” said Raya.
On the occasion, deputy managing director at the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Hara Raj Neupane assured that the authority is serious in providing necessary power supply in the industrial sector, including the Bhairahawa SEZ.
Meanwhile, former commerce secretary Purshottam Ojha said that the government should focus on implementing the one-door policy for industries inside SEZs. 

No comments: