Int’l meet on financing for Nepal kicks off, PM pledges to strengthen investment climate «

Int’l meet on financing for Nepal kicks off, PM pledges to strengthen investment climate

The International Conference on Financing for Nepal, 2023 kicked off here today, aiming to exploring investment sources and opportunities for the country’s overall economic development. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ inaugurated the Conference organized by Office of the Investment Board Nepal in collaboration with Standard Chartered Bank and the Society of Economic Journalists of Nepal (SEJON).

On the occasion, the PM said the conference will contribute to identifying the source and exploring investment possibilities at a time when the government is in the process of formulating the budget for the next fiscal year. He said the government is committed and has already initiated to improve policy, legal, regulatory, procedural and institutional regime to strengthen business and investment environment and opportunities in Nepal.

“We came together today to showcase country’s investment potential, and explore avenues for strengthening cooperation with private sector, including Bank and Financial Institutions, Development Financing Institutions, Multilateral Development Banks and other development partners for promoting private investment including Foreign Direct Investment in Nepal,” the PM said. According to him, the government is offering an enabling investment climate, adequate protection and providing necessary fiscal incentives and other facilities, including effective handholding of valued investors during the entire business life cycle.

To facilitate investment and effectively handhold investors in project development and execution, Investment Board Nepal established in 2011, is first reference point for large scale investment above 6 billion rupees and the Department of Industry is looking after other investments projects. “In our effort to achieve development goals, we have identified several key sectors that require significant investments. These sectors include physical infrastructure, energy, tourism, agriculture, and manufacturing. We need the support and partnership of the private sector and financial institutions to align with our efforts in achieving nation’s sustainable development goals for shared prosperity,” the Prime Minister said.

The PM said: “As we are looking into bridging Nepal’s investment gap through innovative, sustainable solutions, we believe this conference shall be instrumental to unlock the financing approaches towards development of strategic infrastructure projects in the country and create new opportunities for business along with decent job creation for our people.” Stating that the Government is committed to work with international partners to attract foreign investment and create new opportunities, he reiterated that Nepal is eager to have an effective partnership with the private sector along with financing institutions and development partners in the development efforts.

He appreciated this initiative of the Office of the Investment Board, Standard Chartered Bank and SEJON in organizing this event by bringing all the relevant actors of government and private sector ecosystem together. The Prime Minister on the occasion urged all the delegates to brainstorm on appropriate financing instruments and approaches for Nepal which will be instrumental in meeting the financing gap.

Nepal needs financial resources: Finance Minister

Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat said Nepal is in need of financial resources. Stating that despite the existence of investment climate in Nepal, the availability of resources is lacking, he asserted that there is investment-friendly climate in Nepal as the country has adopted liberal economy and democratic governance system. As the Finance Minister said, there is also no problem for the investors for repatriating their profit to their home country. He claimed that Nepal has the policy and structural arrangements required for investment-friendly environment and the government was committed to improving upon it.

“Areas of investment have been identified to fulfill our development needs. Physical infrastructure, energy, tourism, agriculture and production sectors have been kept in investment priority. We welcome any new concept of financing source for meeting the investment requirements,” the Finance Minister said. Investment Board Nepal’s chief executive officer Sushil Bhatta stated that the Board is moving ahead with an ambitious goal of managing and mobilizing investment through private foreign investment and public private partnership.

“The Investment Board is already managing large foreign investment in the energy sector at present. We have set the goal of bringing big investment within the coming three or four years,” he added. Kathmandu University Registrar and economist Prof Dr Achyut Wagle pointed out a big gap in investment at present in order for Nepal to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. In his view, the domestic resources, tools and the government’s investment alone were not adequate for the country’s development and sustainable economic growth.

CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Nepal, Anirvan Ghosh Dastidar said Nepal has both possibility and need for investment. According to him, investment is needed for attaining the SDGs, addressing the climate change issues and infrastructure development, and Nepal has to look for new sources of investment. The conference will discuss mainly on four topics. In the first session, discussions will be held on mobilization of financial resources and foreign direct investment.

The second session will deliberate on governance system for investment while the third session will dwell on investment implements for development projects. Discussions will be held in the fourth session on hindrances to investment and finance mobilization, and the ways of facilitating by removing the obstacles. Stakeholders will deliberate on seeking financial sources Nepal needs, the practices so far and the policy the government needs to take in the coming days.

The conference is organized with the goal of bringing together the private sector, government and the donor agencies at one place and discussing on the possible investment instruments for Nepal and prospective resources. Responsible government officials, representatives of the development partner organizations, economists and development experts are participating in the conference.