Prime minister bats for shared prosperity

Kathmandu, August 23

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has called on business communities of Nepal and India to work together citing ‘this is the only way to advance our goal of greater prosperity by building on the strong social ties and heritage that we share’.

Addressing the ‘Nepal-India Business Forum’ at the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi today, PM Deuba said that after years of policy stalemate and instability, Nepal is on the verge of a growth take-off. “We are ready to gather pace, and we warmly invite you to engage with us,” he said as per a copy of his speech released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Pledging sincere efforts to court foreign investment, to secure and retain them, and to ensure they succeed, Deuba expressed commitment to bring about reforms that are credible and not reversible; relax binding constraints in infrastructure; and deter rent-seeking and create a level playing field through institutional reforms.

He also underscored numerous reforms undertaken recently, including enactment of laws and policies on foreign investment, public-private partnership, special economic zones, industrial enterprises, labour, mining, banking and intellectual property.

Stating that in 2015 Nepal ended political transition by adopting a highly progressive constitution, he emphasised that the country is truly open for business as ‘there exists strong convergence of views among Nepal’s major political parties that the country is poised to stand at critical economic juncture’.

He further said that with the rise of India and China as global economic powers, all major growth poles in Asia are within a few hours of flying distance from Kathmandu. “Nepal can be the new melting pot for tourists, traders and investors.”

“We are actively pursuing new processes and institutions to attract large-scale investment,” he said, adding Nepal is an attractive platform for export-oriented investments in products with a high value-to-weight ratio.

Stating that both India and Nepal today have large young populations, he said, “In interest of our youths, my talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi will emphasise a forward-looking development agenda that is defined by collaboration on projects that can inspire our societies and transform our economies in 21st century.”

He also underlined the importance of physical connectivity through road, rail, and air as key to lowering business costs and deepening people-to-people ties.