PM assures foreign investors of security

Kathmandu, May 31

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has assured foreign investors that the investment they make in Nepal would be secure.

He made the remark during the inaugural session of Nepal Power Investment Summit 2016 organised by Energy Development Council here today. The two-day summit is being participated by investors from China, the US, Canada, Bulgaria, Norway, India, Bhutan, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Thailand, Vietnam, France, Austria and the UK, among others.

“With the promulgation of the new constitution, Nepal has entered into a new phase of economic development and energy is crucial for the country’s development,” PM Oli said, urging foreign investors to invest in Nepal.

He further said: “I’d like to assure your investment would be secure in Nepal and give good returns.”

Nepal, home to around 6,000 rivers, rivulets and tributaries, boasts of having potential to generate over 40,000MW of electricity through hydro resources.

But as of now, the country’s installed capacity stands at 847.68MW, whereas peak demand, this year, stood at 1,385MW, shows the Economic Survey 2015-16.

“With per capita energy consumption of 128 units per year ... Nepal is an energy poor country. But its prosperity hinges on making itself energy rich,” US Ambassador to Nepal Alaina B Teplitz told the conference.

There is a big gap in demand and supply of electricity because Nepal has not been able to build relatively bigger hydropower projects since 70MW Middle Marsyangdi Hydroelectric Project, located in Lamjung, came into operation in 2008.

As a result, most of the industries, and commercial and non-profit organisations are dependent on diesel-powered generators. These generators, according to a World Bank study conducted in 2014, are emitting 220 tonnes of black carbon in Kathmandu Valley alone.

It is well known that Nepal needs big investments to develop the energy sector. “But investment requirement for development of Nepal’s energy sector is too big for development partners (alone to handle),” Teplitz said.

It is said Nepal needs investment to the tune of $3 billion per year for the next 15 years to fully develop its energy sector. So, Nepal needs to dramatically increase private investment in this area, the US ambassador said. But to attract private investment, as per Teplitz, Nepal’s investment climate has to be welcoming for which better legislations are required.

“Although good policies play a facilitating role in development, production and process innovation are also required,” said Investment Board Nepal CEO Radhesh Pant.

Also, modern technology is needed, and focus should be laid on enhancing our managerial capacity to build big projects, National Planning Commission Vice Chairman Yubaraj Khatiwada told the conference, which also provides business-to-business and business-to-government matchmaking platform for foreign investors interested in investing in Nepal.

The conference continues till tomorrow.