Kathmandu, April 1:

The government will present four papers during the Nepal Development Forum (NDF) meet that will be held here from May 12 to 14. “During the interaction with the donors, the government papers will focus on Nepal’s development strategy, economic restructuring, foreign aid policy and its effectiveness and opportunities for private sector investment,” ,” said Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai today.

Earlier, the NDF was organised in 2004. The government also held a Donors’ Consultation Meet — a mini-NDF — in 2008.

The finance minister said the NDF will focus on three areas — convincing donors to assist Nepal in its priority areas for the implementation of Nepal’s development strategy prepared for the transitional period, increase more understanding between the government and the donors and prepare a policy to develop Nepal as a preferred investment destination. The country is reeling under a energy crisis and lack of infrastructure for development that needs huge investment.

“For development, Nepal needs peace and for peace it needs development. Thus the theme of the NDF will be ‘The basis of New Nepal: Peace and socio-economic tranformation’,” he said adding that before the finalisation of the strategy papers a massive consultation round will be held in five different districts from east to west. Nepal has been taking foreign aid since long, making the country more dependent on aid. Dr Bhattarai opined that Nepal currently needs aid to lessen dependence on foreign aid. “Times have changed and Nepal now needs more trade opportunities rather than aid,” he added.

The finance ministry has invited 40 bilateral and multilateral donors and five Export-Import Banks from various countries — a total of 45 participants — to take part in the Nepal Development Forum meet that will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.

The finance minister today morning also held a consultation meeting with former finance ministers and economic experts.