FDI norms to change

Kathmandu, May 30:

To attract more foreign private investment, government is set to amend foreign direct investment (FDI) and industrial policies.

Finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat today said that the drafts of the FDI policy and industrial policy are being reviewed to make them more flexible and investment-friendly.

Dr Mahat was speaking at a programme organised to launch a comprehensive book and CD on ‘Foreign Investment Guide for Nepal’ prepared by GTZ/Private Sector Promotion Project in cooperation with the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies.

“The need to change the existing policies has been felt to attract more FDI, considering Nepal’s strategic location between the world’s two fastest growing economies of China and India,” Dr Mahat added.

He added that the country’s situation after the historic popular movement last month has greatly improved and thus the environment for investment and business activities is conducive.

“A series of reforms are underway and Nepal will be open to FDI in almost all sectors. Both foreign and domestic investors should now look at a vast potential of China and India from Nepal,” he said. Inviting European investors, Dr Mahat said that Nepal is an ideal investment destination under EU’s provision of ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) extended to LDCs, including Nepal. “Nepal’s rich bio-diversity and natural resources, which are under-exploited, could be ideal for investment.”

Bharat Bahadur Thapa, secretary at MoICS, said that Nepal is open for FDI, including transfer of technology, improvement of management skills and productivity and providing access to international markets. “Foreign investors now have tremendous opportunities for exports, since Nepal is already a member of multilateral and regional free trade agreements such as WTO, SAFTA and BIMSTEC,” he said.

Norbert Meyer, counsellor at the German embassy in Kathmandu, said that it is the right t time to bring more investors to Nepal and to reach for some tangible results. “The economic setting is great and prospects are marvellous, something every foreign investor could have dreamt of is at their disposal,” he added.

After the historic movement and improvement in situation here in Nepal, the donor community has shown readiness to bring in more money and projects, which will also encourage foreign private investors to come to Nepal, Meyer said.

Armin Hofmann, principal advisor of GTZ underlined a dire need for investment in Nepal for reconstruction and rehabilitation.

“Prosperity could be ensured only with foreign investment that is vital for Nepal which has undergone a painful period of uncertainty and conflict,” he said.

The guidebook is an elaboration on all requirements for investing in Nepal, which will work as a hands-on information tool for all potential investors, Hofmann said. The CD contains elaborate details and it has the advantage of being updated when it is used online.

The price for a set of book and CD is fixed at Rs 150.