Kathmandu, March 27

Foreign investment pledges in Nepal have increased by a whopping 230 per cent in the first eight months of the ongoing fiscal year 2017-18, signifying the improved investment scenario in the country and willingness of foreign investors to inject investments in Nepal.

Nepal has received foreign investment commitment worth Rs 38.04 billion within the first eight months of 2017-18 (mid-July to mid-March) as against Rs 11.52 billion worth of FDI pledge that the country had drawn during the same period in the last fiscal, according to the Department of Industry (DoI) — the government body authorised to approve foreign investments of up to Rs two billion.

However, foreign investment commitments during the review period have slipped in terms of number of projects. Though foreign investors had pledged to invest in 214 projects in Nepal in the first eight months of fiscal year 2016-17, only 194 projects have received investment commitment in the review period in this fiscal.

DoI officials informed that Nepal has received FDI pledges for some mega projects in ongoing fiscal year, which have expanded the overall investment commitment figure in the ongoingfiscal year. “The improved political situation in the country this year seems to have boosted the morale of foreign investors,” said an official at DoI.

Statistics maintained by DoI show that Nepal has received comparatively higher investment pledge in the agro and forestry, information and technology, manufacturing and mineral sectors during the first eight months of the current fiscal year.

While country’s manufacturing sector has received Rs 7.76 billion investment commitment, energy sector and tourism sector have received investment commitment worth Rs 22.5 billion and Rs 2.06 billion, respectively in first eight months of 2017-18. During the same period last year, Nepal had received Rs 1.42 billion worth FDI pledge in the manufacturing sector and Rs 5.30 billion in country’s tourism industry.

Similarly, foreign direct investment (FDI) commitment in the information and technology sector and mineral industry till mid-March this fiscal year has increased to Rs 300 million and Rs two billion, respectively. During the same period of last fiscal, Nepal had drawn FDI pledge worth Rs 10 million in information and technology sector and Rs 30 million in mineral industry.

However, the private sector has said that the government has not been able to materialise foreign investment commitments properly despite the willingness of foreign investors to inject investment in Nepal. “Increasing pledges for investment mean nothing if the government is unable to materialise them. It is high time for the government to focus on turning investment commitments into reality rather than just increasing investment commitments,” said an official of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.