Friday, March 29, 2019

PM invite investors to take benefit from opportunity in Nepal

The government today called foreign investors to inject money in Nepal by taking advantage of the better investment climate. The government also vowed to protect their investments in Nepal and 'guarantee' their profits, as part of its efforts to woo foreign investment.
“Nepal offers attractive packages to investors in terms of taxation, import duties and export facilitation," Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli told some 1,000 participants, including around 600 participants from 40 countries, during the inaugural session of the two-day long Nepal Investment Summit 2019, jointly organised by the government and Investment Board Nepal (IBN), here, today.
Nepal also offers low labour cost, which investors primarily look for, he said, explaining reforms that have been made over the years to attract foreign investment, which is crucial to bridge huge infrastructure gap and generate jobs in other sectors to transform Nepal into a middle-income country.
The country has brought legislations that are investor-friendly and amended key laws to improve the business climate, he said, adding that the government has also simplified business registration, land acquisition and environmental impact assessment processes. "Every sector, from hydropower to agriculture and tourism to manufacturing, is highly profitable and their potential is yet to be tapped."
Oli further told the investors that Nepal today has a government which is not just stable but also has a clear vision for inclusive development through government-private sector partnership. "Feel secure and grab the opportunity," he said, adding that the government and the entire country will facilitate both domestic and foreign investment.
Likewise, finance minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada, on the occasion, reinforced PM’s calls for greater foreign investment adding, “Favourable policies, stable politics and the country’s strategic location are what really make Nepal a suitable business destination."
Addressing the inaugural session, former finance minister and Nepali Congress leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said that foreign investment is crucial for Nepal to expand its export base and address the problem of ballooning trade deficit. "Nepal will not meet its growth and development targets without foreign investment,” he said.
“Nepal should look for responsible investors who do not prioritise short-term profit," union minister for investment and foreign economic relations of Myanmar U Thaung Tun said, urging the government to 'focus on agriculture sector to boost the economy'.
Likewise, vice-president of the World Bank for South Asia Hartwig Schafer and vice-president of the Asian Development Bank Shixin Chen, on the occasion, praised the government for giving high priority to introduction of business-friendly regulations and improvement of business climate.
Chen said investments had already been made in energy, drinking water, town infrastructure and education of Nepal, and strategies had been made for more investments. Referring to the ADB's investment in Melamchi Drinking Water Project, Gautam Buddha International Airport, he said that ADB plans to make long-term investment in Nepal.
Likewise, Schafer expressed his readiness to invest in Nepal so as to help its goals of 'Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali', stating that is environment conducive for investment in Nepal lately with some changes in legal structures in this regard.
The government has expedited the process of economic reform in recent months with an aim to lure FDI and ease the doing-business environment. Crucial legislation for investment including the Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act (FITTA), and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Investment Act were approved just before the investment summit, , though development partners have called the government move a 'haste' and lack of enough discussion on the legal reforms. The laws still needs enough discussion as they still are restrictive, the development partners observed.
However, a dozen memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are going to be signed with foreign investors by the end of the summit to bring in their investment, according to government sources.
Addressing the guests, finance minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada said that high and broad-based economic growth, solid economic fundamentals, a transparent and predictable tax system and recent regulatory reforms make Nepal an attractive investment destination.
"Affordable tax rates have been fixed and laws made targeting investors," he said, adding that there is possibility for investors to have a big market in Nepal standing between big countries China and India.
The summit will witness various discussions on investment opportunities in Nepal today itself. 

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