KATHMANDU, Oct 6: The three-day regional conference of Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) concluded here on Friday with investors announcing investment commitments in a number of sectors such as hydroelectricity, agricultural and food processing.
“I am investing US$ 5 million in Nepal´s hydropower sector,” announced Ambassador Benedict V Yujuico, a Pilipino investor and president of CACCI. His investment, according to Yujuico, would come in Upper Mai Hydroelectric Project (9.98 MW), which is being developed by High Himalaya Hydro Company.
Pradeep Kumar Shrestha, former president of Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), who is also involved in High Himalaya Hydro, said the two sides are yet to sign a formal deal. “But expect that to happen soon,” he told Republica.
Similarly, investors from Taiwan and South Korea also announced that they would make investment in agricultural and tourism sector, respectively.
Top businessmen of the region, who gathered in Kathmandu for the 26th conference of CACCI, admitted there were structural problems in Nepal´s hydropower sector.
“But still we want to make the investment and become part of country´s development,” said Yujuico, who has investment in countries like the USA, Singapore and the Philippines. Yujuico even appealed all the investors attending the conference to invest in Nepal.
FNCCI officials said numerous Nepali entrepreneurs have received strong commitments from investors from South Korea and Taiwan for new investments.
“We had appealed to the business leaders from Taiwan to invest in food processing and packaging industry,” said FNCCI President Suraj Vaidya. “Their responses have been positive.”
On the day, FNCCI also signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinese International Economic Cooperation, Taiwan and Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (ICCIA) aiming to lure more investment from the respective countries. “These MoUs will lead us to more cooperation and communication and ultimately new investment,” Vaidya stated.
During the sideline meetings with the FNCCI, the investors from the region expressed concerns over Nepal´s legal framework on protecting foreign direct investment (FDI).
Investors from Taiwan, Russia and Turkey had mainly raised those concerns, but FNCCI officials informed them that the government was reframing the policies and laws, making them more investor friendly.
Later, addressing the closing ceremony, Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun too promised protection of foreign investment. “We have various sectors such as hydro, tourism and agricultural, among others, waiting for massive investment. We welcome you to be a development partner of this Himalayan country.”
The last day of the conference had revolved around specific sectors such as hydro, construction, alternative energy, small and medium enterprises, tourism, health and education, among others.
“There are security risks in the project sites in Nepal. Volatile political situation is always a threat for us to work here,” Dilip Singh, general manager of Himal Hydropower Company, said in a panel discussion.
Furthermore, a delegation of CACCI led by Yujuico met with President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai on the day.
“President Yadav and PM Bhattarai both appealed the business leaders to come in Nepal with investment,” FNCCI said in its press statement. “The country is on the way to have a new constitution and I assure that your investment will be safe in Nepal,” Bhattarai told the CACCI delegates, according to the statement.
Around 300 business leaders from 21 countries across the region participated in the conference.