BUTWAL, Sept 14: Chinese investors have shown interest to invest in Lumbini in collaboration with Nepali investors.
Lumbini has already hosted four groups of Chinese investors this year, according to Ram Kumar Sharma, president of Siddharthanagar Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SCCI).
Targeting Lumbini, Chinese entrepreneurs are showing interest to invest in hotels, cement industries, food industries, solar energy and production of electronic goods, say local entrepreneurs.
Chinese investors associated with One Belt One Road International Trade Platform of CIC Mutual Trade and Investment Company, among other investors, visited Lumbini recently. They reached Lumbini in the first week of June to hold meetings with Nepali entrepreneurs regarding their investment in Lumbini.
Sharma, who also attended the meetings, says that Chinese investors were looking to forge coordination with Nepali investors and expecting investment-friendly government policy to make huge investment in Lumbini.
The Chinese team and a team of SCCI have agreed to recommend the government to facilitate investment between Nepali and Chinese investors.
Among others, the Chinese team has expressed commitment to open a five-star hotel in Lumbini.
Gautam Buddha International Airport is under construction in Bhairahawa. Once the airport comes into operation, it is expected to draw large number of Chinese tourists to Lumbini - the birthplace of Lord Buddha.
As China has also shown interest to extend the Shigatse-Kerung railway line till Lumbini, local investors are excited with the approach for investments in Lumbini made by the Chinese investors.
“If we managed to bring Chinese investments here, Lumbini and surrounding area will see prosperity in no time,” Bharat Bahadur Thapa, president of Nawalparasi Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said.
Similarly, Shree Krishna Pokharel, former president of Rupandehi Trade Association, said that Nepal can also benefit from technology transfer due to Chinese investments.
As the government has prohibited opening of industries in the 15-kilometer radius of Lumbini -- a UNESCO World Heritage site -- Nawalparasi and Kapilvastu districts are likely to get more investments if Chinese investors are serious with their investment proposals.
Chinese company Hongshi Cement Company signed an agreement with Investment Board Nepal on September 3 to open a mega cement factory in Nawalparasi in association with Shivam Cements. According to the agreement, the company can invest up to Rs 36.75 billion. It has been claimed that the industry can fulfill 40 percent of the country's total demand for cement.
“As Chinese investors are very much interested to invest in Lumbini and surrounding areas, we need to work for creating investment-friendly environment in the country,” Sharma added.
The Chinese team also observed the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Bhairahawa. “In the meeting, they said that they need 45 bigaha of land in SEZ to establish a single industry,” he said.