KATHMANDU, Aug 18: Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai on Friday said his government will soon sign Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with China.
BIPPA is a legal tool that ensures protection of foreign investments against discriminatory measures like policy inconsistencies by the host state. This tool also gives foreign investors legal teeth to demand fair and equitable treatment, and security.
Currently, Nepal has signed BIPPA with India, Mauritius, Finland, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
The BIPPA signed with India became a political hot potato as many called it anti-national and likened it to selling Nepal´s sovereignty to our southern neighbor.
PM Bhattarai, who signed BIPPA with India, on Friday called his critics “xenophobics”.
Firing a salvo at them, he said: “Today´s nationalism is not about protecting the territory, it´s about giving a lift to the economy. If the country is not developed we cannot protect our sovereignty as well.”
Making an emotional speech in front of few ministers and top bureacrats, he also said the society and conservative mentality of the Nepalis were the biggest hurdles in the way of promoting entrepreneurship in the country.
“Rent- or commission- seeking culture is still prevalent in the upper rungs of the society, while people at the lower rungs want to make a living either by finding a job in or outside the country,” the PM said addressing a meeting of the Nepal Business Forum in Kathmandu on Friday. “Besides, economic statust of people who are dependent on subsistence agriculture has not risen even in an era when business activities rule the roost.”
These inherent defects in our system, which he said were holding back entrepreneurship, were chief agents that were causing the business environment to deteriorate. “Until this situation improves and people have desire to change, business environment will not improve in the country,” Bhattarai said.