The Kathmandu Post, 21st April 2017, Post Report, Kathmandu
Industry Minister Nabindra Raj Joshi on Thursday called on members of the diplomatic community to update them on the policy reforms initiated by the ministry and follow up on the investment pledge made by the foreign investors during the recent Nepal Investment Summit 2017.
Addressing the meeting, Minister Joshi said the government is committed to launch second generation reform to create the base for industrialisation with the foreign direct investment as major source of capital.
“In a short span of time, we have had a few major policy departures and lot more are on the pipeline to attract foreign investors in Nepal,” said Joshi. The government has recently made an amendment to the Company Act, passed the Industrial Enterprises Act, Special Economic Zone Act and introduced the National Intellectual Property Policy. Currently, it is working to introduce the Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Bill along with the Intellectual Property Rights Bill, the two mostly demanded legal frameworks by foreign investors. “This shows that Nepal is committed to providing the best possible business environment for foreign investors,” said Joshi, urging the representatives of diplomatic communities to spread good words about Nepal as an ideal investment destination in their respective countries.
Speaking at the meeting, diplomats welcomed the initiatives taken by the government and stressed the need for more legal infrastructure to ensure the safety of the foreign investment. “The recent summit was a huge success in terms of bringing top leaders of the political parties together and sharing the stage to make a strong pitch for foreign investment,” said Michael C Gonzales, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy. He also urged the government to expedite the Labour Act and introduce Land Use Bill and Agribusiness Promotion Bill.
Diplomats also inquired about the unique facilities that Nepal had to offer if their investors chose Nepal over other South Asian countries. “If foreign investors decide to invest in Nepal instead of India or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, what unique facilities will they get?”, questioned Japanese Ambassador to Nepal Masashi Ogawa.
Joshi also informed the diplomatic community about the recently formed 21-member high-level committee under his coordination to look after every aspect of foreign investment. “The committee will work to uphold the investment pledge made during the summit,” said Joshi. In the summit held on March, 16 companies based in seven countries pledged a combined investment worth $13.52 billion during the two-day event. The figure represents more than half of Nepal’s Gross Domestic Product.
Chinese companies top the list of potential investors with commitments totalling more than $8.3 billion. Half a dozen Chinese companies have shown interest in areas like hydropower, airport, road, railway, mining and hospitality, among others. Bangladesh comes second with Himadri Foods pledging to invest $2.4 billion in the food and beverage and construction sectors.