Thursday, March 28, 2019

Investment Summit to kick off tomorrow

The Investment Board Nepal (IBN) said that it will showcase 77 different projects including private sector worth $31.93 billion from various sectors during the Nepal Investment Summit 2019 that is scheduled to be held tomorrow and day after tomorrow, in Kathmandu.
Prime Minister K P Oli is scheduled to inaugurate the summit where finance Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada will brief participants about the investment environment in the country and what the government has to offer to investors. The Directive Committee of the investment – led by finance minister Dr Khatiwada – has decided to showcase 50 government-owned projects and 27 other projects from private sector.
A meeting of the committee held on Monday, has calculated the value of the projects by fixing the US dollar exchange rate at Rs 110 per dollar. Based on that rate the value of the 50 government-owned projects stands at $28.59 billion and that of the 27 private sector-led projects stands at $3.34 billion.
During the summit, the government will showcase 25 projects related to energy and infrastructure, 17 related to tourism and 11 projects related to the transportation sector.
Likewise, it will showcase eight projects related to agriculture, seven related to urban development and six related to industrial sector. The government is also presenting three projects related to the education and health sector.
The government’s main objective in the summit is to demonstrate the improved business climate of the country in recent years to potential investors, spokesperson of the board Balaram Rijyal said, adding that the summit will focus on transforming the political and policy stability into trust among the domestic and international business society.
"The two-day conference will also discuss and brainstorm on investment opportunities in various sectors," he said, adding that the government is expecting around a dozen memorandums of understanding (MoUs) to be signed with multiple investors for different projects during the summit.
The government had changed and amended various laws and policies related to foreign direct investment to make the summit a success, though the development partners have said that the government did not give enough time to discuss on key Acts likr Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act (FITTA) that could be magnet to bring in foreign investment into Nepal. The opposition party has also claimed that the government has not done enough homework and is organising investment summit in haste.
However, the Oli government is hosting the investment summit a year after assuming office, with a view to 'give out a message that Nepal is the best destination for foreign investment' and with its eyes on double digit economic growth.
According to the board, over 600 participants from 40 countries will be taking part in summit, from which investment of up to $30 billion is expected to be pledged. China dominates the roster of participants with 265 investors and delegates, followed by India with 120, Japan (21) and Myanmar (19). Investors and other representatives from the USA, UK, Canada, UAE, South Korea, Germany and other countries have also arrived in Kathmandu for the summit.
Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations of Myanmar U Thaung – who is one of the key-note sspeaker in the summit – has arrived in Kathmandu today.
Likewise, key representatives from Nepal's major development partners including the World Bank and ADB are also here.
Nepal had hosted an investment summit in 2017 after the promulgation of the new Constitution and projects worth $4 billion – out of nearly 14 billion pledged – are working after acquiring the survey licence.

With love from Myanmar
The government has invited Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Relations of Myanmar U Thaung Tun as one of the key note speakers of Nepal Investment Summit 2019 that will begin in Kathmandu tomorrow.
The summit – third in the history of the country – will see participation from over 40 countries around the world. Myanmar minister will address the inaugural session – among the eight digniteries – on the first day as one of the keynote speakers, though Nepal has not seen any investment from the country that was ruled by the Army Junta for long. The ruling communist party's love for the country with Army background is something that is suprising for the development partners. Tun – who previously served as the National Security Adviser of Myanmar's military government – is the first minister of the newly-formed ministry that seeks to boost local and international investment in Myanmar.
Myanmar is in the same legue of Least Developed Countries (LDC) and struggling to catch up the pace of development amid continuing political turmoil. It is also not in a position to immediately invest in any other countries. Recently, Myanmar has also faced a serious case of gross human rights violation of Rohingya refugees. The international community – especially Western democracies – have been asking Myanmar to clear itself from the gross human rights violation. Nepal's move to invite the Myanmar minister as one of the keynot speakers is also seen as legitimising the human rights violations carried out by Myanmar authorities, according to foreign policy experts.
Nepal's love for Myanmar is not new as this is not the first time Nepal has given priority to Myanmar. Nepal had rolled red carpet to the then Myanmar Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing in 2017, stirring a huge controversy then too.
Likewise, in November 2017, Nepal was among 26 countries choosing to abstain from voting in the resolution sponsored by Bangladesh to mount pressure on Myanmar on Rohingya issue in UN's Third Committee, though Nepal also saw influx of Rohingya refugee.
The Committee, which focuses on human rights, voted 135 in favour and 10 against the draft text that asked Myanmar to end military operations that have 'led to the systematic violation and abuse of human rights' of Rohingya Muslims in the country's Rakhine state
In the previous Nepal Investment Summit held in 2017, Nepal had invited Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley as the keynote speaker.

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