Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation YogeshBhattaraitoday urged foreigners to invest in Nepal citing that the country has become a favorable destination for investment at present.
Speaking at the Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2019, Minister Bhattarai said that along with friendly policies, political parties today do not have any differences on the country’s development which has made Nepal the appropriate destination for investment.
Citing that the flow of air passengers in Nepal is increasing every year, Bhattarai informed that two more international airports would start operation in the country in the recent future. “While the Gautam Buddha International Airport is nearing completion, we will complete the construction of Nijgadh International Airport within next five years and preparations are underway to complete both these projects on time,” said Bhattarai. Along with this, Bhattarai also informed that priority has been given to enhance connectivity with the Southern and the Northern neighbor through new entry points and road networks.
Meanwhile, Bhattarai also said that discussions are underway with the European Union (EU) to lift the ban being imposed on Nepali airlines in the European skies.
Addressing the session entitled Infrastructure and Regional Connectivity; experts suggested the need to focus on strengthening regional interconnectivity for the desired development of infrastructure in Nepal. SwarnimWagle, former vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission said that landlocked nations like Nepal should highly focus on the development of infrastructure, interconnectivity, information, and technology to generate their own assets. “The government should raise investment to fill the development gap between cities and rural regions in Nepal,” he said. Citing that Asia has become the center of the global economy today, Wagle said that Nepal should effectively take benefit from its strategic location in between India and China. “For this, the government should reform some policy and practical issues,” he added. He stated that the government has been subject to criticism due to some plans and projects that have been introduced without enough groundwork. In a bid to address the ballooning trade deficit, the government should increase investment in the productive sector and focus on export of high-value price, as per him. Along with this, Wagle stated that Nepal also needs to enhance air connectivity, execute railways plans, promote digital economy, ensure the market for energy along with increasing production of electricity. Nepal also should make its presence in regional forums like SAARC, BIMSTEC, IBBN, and BRI among others and take benefits, as per him.
Speaking at the session, former general manager at World Bank Noritada Morita said that interconnectivity is the current need of South Asia. “Prior to this, peace was an important agenda in South Asia. However, the need of South Asian nations today is the development of infrastructure and raise per capita income of people,” he said.
Shankar Das Bairagi, Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that Nepal has enhanced trade relationship with neighboring countries in the recent years. “The government is also expanding its network among regional forums to enhance power connectivity, the interconnectivity of transmission line, telecommunication, railways, waterways, and airways,” he informed.
Informing that the government has prepared a long-term action plan to develop the energy sector, Energy Secretary Dinesh Kumar Ghimire appealed investors to invest in the hydropower sector. Moreover, Ghimire said that Nepal will start exporting energy to neighboring nations in the recent future.