Investment climate in Nepal improving

March 2, 2017 05:00 AM Kuvera Chalise

Government organizing Investment Summit after a gap of 25 years
KATHMANDU, March 2: The government in recent months has passed and introduced key legislations to create investment friendly environment. And with the new legislatures that have helped create investment climate, the government is organizing the Investment Summit after a long duration of 25 years. The earlier Investment summit, the government organized was in the 1992.

The government has brought a gamut of new legislations including Industrial Enterprises Act, Special Economic Zone Act, Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act -- that is going ot be passed by the next cabinet -- National Intellectual Property Policy and National Mineral Policy -- approved by the cabinet on Tuesday -- and the Company Act (first amendment) as part of second generation economic reform program, according to the Industry Minister Nabindra Raj Joshi. "The new Company Act has ensured easy entry, operation and exit of the companies, which has eased doing business in Nepal," Joshi claimed.

Likewise, he also said that the promulgation of Constitution and commitment of the political parties have also ensured the investment climate in the country. "On top of that Nepal has majority of youth population, which is not only hardworking but also result-oriented," he said, adding that the youth is the assests of the country for economic growth. "The country is planning to enjoy the demographic dividends by laying red carpet to the investors both domestic and foreign."

"The new laws have not only helped create investment climate in Nepal but also pushed forward the second generation of economic reforms," said Investment Board chief executive Maha Prasada Adhikari.

The first Investment Summit -- in 1992 when the country had started the economic reforms -- had sent the message to the investors that Nepal was ready for investment and the second summit -- starting March 2 -- will send the message that the country has already started a second generation economic reforms and is ready for investment, he added.

Adhikari also said that the board has preapred a project bank and the summit will brainstrom on eight major areas for investment including agriculture, banking and finance, energy, information and communication technology (ICT), production based sector, mines and mineral, tourism industry and transport. "The summit has prepared a project bank that would be showcased for the investors," he added.

Nepal, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17 published by World Economic Forum (WEF), is 4th most competitive economy in South Asia as it boasts the best macroeconomic environment in South Asia, and after significant recent improvement, the second highest level of health and primary education.

However, the country is the worst performer in terms of infrastructure, whcih has forced the government to invite foreign and domestic investment in the infrastructure that could also help propel the economic growth in the long run.

Second Generation Reforms

National Mineral Policy: 
It has set a target of bringing investment --  foreign and domestic -- in the domestic mineral industry worth at least Rs 100 billion in the next 10 years. The Policy envisions to recognise mineral industries as national priority industry and categorise them on the basis of their nature of production.

Likewise, it also envisions offering customs waiver and subsidy for infrastructural development of such mineral industries from next fiscal year 2017-18, and special customs duty waiver on import of machinery and equipment which are used for mineral exploration and production in the country. The Policy also proposes to form a National Mineral Fund worth Rs 1 billion in the budget for the next fiscal year 2017-18 to do research on available minerals and their exploration and promotion. 

National Intellectual Property Policy:
National Intellectual Property Policy aims to address existing barriers in effective implementation of Intellectual Property (IP) laws and protect and promote IP rights of people. It also envisions forming a sole and separate IP office in the country to deal with all issues related to intellectual property, instead of separate institutions. 

Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act:
The amendment of the Act -- after 25 year -- also aims at regulating and facilitating foreign investment in Nepal. It also envisions different tax waivers and subsidy facilities to foreign investors in Nepal. 

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