KATHMANDU: On the second day of the Nepal Investment Summit, government representatives, foreign investors and experts have continued their discussions on investment opportunities in Nepal.
The programme today was divided into a parallel session, three plenary sessions and a concluding session. Various pressing issues relating to foreign investment were proposed and discussed in the Summit at Hotel Soaltee in Kathmandu.
In the first session chaired by Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Raghubir Mahaseth, the investment potential on road, railway and waterway was discussed.
Joint Secretary at the Ministry, Gopal Prasad Sigdel, reminded that Nepal government had put construction of mega physical infrastructures in priority. Completion of Gautam Buddha International Airport was expected to be completed by the end of 2019, while that of Pokhara International Airport by 2020. According to him, cable cars were already successfully operated in Manakamana, Chandragiri and Kalinchowk.
It was highlighted that there was a huge potential of water transportation in Gandaki, Koshi and Karnali rivers, which could be a possible area for investment.
During the discussion, panelists underscored the need to immediately formulate a plan and carry out activities to develop physical infrastructures as a step to achieve economic development and prosperity.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice-Chair Shixin Chen was of the opinion that Nepal, a middle-income nation, had to invest enormously in the physical infrastructure for its transformation. “The ADB has its investments in Nepal’s Gautam Buddha International Airport, Melamchi Drinking Water Project and various other projects including the rebuilding of earth-quake damaged schools,” he said, adding that they are ready for further investment for Nepal’s development.
The industrialists and investors participating in the ongoing Investment Summit said that a politically stable government, investment friendly environment in Nepal and availability of labour and skilled human resources were important elements to attract investment.
During a panel on ‘Investment in Nepal: Exchanges of Experience’ at the Summit, the investors univocally said that Nepal was a proper place for investment.
Chairperson of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) Bhawani Rana said, with the completion of political transition, Nepal has entered the phase of economic development. “There is huge labour force, problem of load shedding is almost solved, and industrial atmosphere has been created. So, the foreign investors can make Nepal their destination,” she urged.
Likewise, Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Founding Chairman Upendra Mahato said, Nepal is a safe and reliable zone for foreign investment, calling upon the foreign community to invest here.
Multinational company Unilever Nepal’s Managing Director Ashish Ray shared his experience that investment in Nepal had given a high return. As put by him, educated human resources available in the country could be utilised to ensure good profit from other sectors as well.
Sutlej Hydro Project Chairman Nanda Lal Sharma shared that they were attracted to invest in hydro sectors seeing the direct profit. The company is investing in the Arun III Hydropower Project. Sharma further said that Nepal’s Gross Domestic Product would increase by four folds if only 50 percent of hydropower could be generated in Nepal.
Similarly, Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) Chairman Haribhakta Sharma said that even Nepal’s weather was supportive for development works, referring it as pleasant and friendly for the labourers to work throughout the year. He also argued that valuable medicinal herbs could directly contribute to Nepal’s economy and urged all foreign investors to invest in the country as the government was ensuring security to the businesses.
The two-day Investment Summit comes to a close today.