Kathmandu, September

Businesspeople have been urged not to worry too much about the jargons of socialism in draft constitution because it is not easy for any political party to adopt absolute socialist approach since the country has progressed as a liberal economy since the 1990s.

Speaking at the 21st annual general meeting of Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NICCI), today, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said that economic reforms and liberal economic policies adopted in 1990s are irreversible and urged the investors to invest in Nepal with a higher level of confidence.

Citing a popular quote of Professor Joad, Mahat said, “Socialism is like a hat that has lost its shape because everybody wears it.” He further said that political parties, including Nepali Congress with which he is affiliated, feel proud to be termed as ‘socialist’, but it does not mean that the state will control the economic system of the country. He further said that everybody should focus on attaining economic prosperity for the stability and peace in the country.

“We are in the last leg of drafting the new constitution,” Mahat said, adding, “Ending all the instabilities and a decade-long transition, the new constitution will pave way for socio-economic development.”

Mahat also laid emphasis on attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) from India that will be instrumental in tapping the greater Indian market, which will also address the ballooning trade deficit with India.

He also urged NICCI and private sector organisations to conduct extensive homework for favourable trade treaty with India as Nepal and India are going to revise the ‘Nepal-India Treaty of Trade’ by October 2016 for another seven years.

He also stated that Nepal should capitalise the high-level political commitment of the Indian government to reduce the trade gap with its SAARC countries. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Nepal in August last year, had expressed commitment to do his best to reduce the ballooning trade gap with Nepal and other SAARC nations.

In the programme, Ambassador of India to Nepal Ranjit Rae suggested the private sector organisations and the government to organise road shows in India to lure Indian investors in Nepal. “Through the road shows, Indian investors can better know about the potential projects or sectors for investment, labour laws, tax laws and intellectual property laws in Nepal, among others, and consider investing in Nepal,” Rae said in the programme.

The Indian ambassador also suggested the business communities to meet before the government level talks and provide feedback to their respective governments so that issues of the business community regarding trade and investment can be properly identified and addressed.

Likewise, private sector representatives stressed on facilitating trade and transit to reduce logistic costs, and attracting investment from India in manufacturing and service sectors. India is the largest trade partner of Nepal, as two-third of the country’s trade is with the southern neighbour. Likewise, India is also the top FDI source of the country.

Rana elected NICCI prez

KATHMANDU: The 21st annual general meeting of NICCI has elected Saurya SJB Rana as its president, on Monday. Rana is a renowned businessman and will serve at the helm of the organisation for next two years. Rana had served as general secretary of the organisation before being elected as the president. Rana is the president of Sipradi Trading Pvt Ltd. Rana has defeated Shyam Kumar Lohia, who was vice president in past executive committee. Likewise, the AGM elected nine members, namely, Shreejana Rana, Gyanendra Lal Pradhan, Sashikanta Agrawal, Harkit Singh Beri, RB Rauniyar, Suhrid Jyoti, Srikanth Srinivasamadhavan, Abhimanyu Poddar and Anand Kumar Agrawal Bagaria. The executive committee will elect two vice presidents, general secretary, and treasurer from among the elected members. The immediate past president will also be in the new executive committee. There are altogether 108 general members in NICCI.