KATHMANDU, March 3: The two-day Nepal Investment Summit 2017 concluded on Friday. The second and final day witnessed various sessions on Nepal's niche investment avenues. The panelists in the successive sessions have pledged the investors -- both foreign and domestic -- to invest in Nepal as the investment climate has been improving after the promulgation of the new Constitution last year.
The political transition is going to end and the government is committed to bring in plethora of policy changes to attract the investment in the country. The second generation economic reforms has sent a message across the globe that Nepal is ready for investment after a decade of conflict and last year's devastating earthquake. Here are excerpts on who said what on the second day of successive sessions;
Invest in Nepal
Nepal needs investment in the resources. Thus, I request the investors to invest in hydropower, land, forest and manpower in Nepal. The government is doing homework in attracting the private sector in the transportation sector. As connectivity is key to development and economic growth, we are currently holding discussion with the private sector on how to include in the transportation sector. The government is striving to attract private sector for infrastructure development. We are preparing to bring in the private sector for development of roads, railways and ropeways. The new Constitution has provided impetus to investors. Since there is huge scope of cable cars -- and potential for investors too -- due to mountainous terrain in Nepal, the government is preparing Cable car Guideline also. The Guideline will encourage domestic as well as foreign investor to invest on Cable cars in Nepal.
-- Ramesh Lekhak, minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport
Nepal is allowing private equity fund
The central bank is bringing policy to let the private sector to establish equity fund. A private equity fund is a collective investment scheme used for making investments in various equities and to a lesser extent debt securities according to one of the investment strategies associated with private equity. The central bank is working on easing the policies that will allow the private equity funds operate in the market. The capital market is in the process of progress in Nepal. As the country has to abide by its international commitments like with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) -- in fight against the flow of dirty money -- the central bank as a regulator has to be strict in regulation and promote prudent banking practice. Since the country is slowly heading towards the stability, there is conducive investment environment in Nepal.
-- Nepal Rastra Bank Governor Chiranjivi Nepal
Tourism policy has paved the way
Private sector plays a vital role on the development of tourism in the country. The government has created investment friendly tourism industry so that the foreign and domestic investors can invest without any fear in tourism industry. The constitution of Nepal 2015 had endorsed the tourism policy. The policy has been a very good step by the government as it focuses on developing the tourism industry further. The government is working on to operate Gautam Buddha International Airport by 2018 and the international airport in Pokhara by 2019. The government is also focused on the improvement of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA). The Nepal national flag carrier Nepal Airlines Corporation has been planning to start direct flights to London, Beijing, Tokyo, Australia and many other international cities. The government is planning to add nine big aircrafts by 2024. The government is also encouraging more international aircrafts companies to operate direct flights to Nepal.
-- Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation
Agriculture offers huge potential
More than 66 percent of country's population is dependent on agriculture for their daily livelihood. Almost one fourth of country's total export and one fifth of import consists agricultural products. The contribution of agricultural sector to our economic growth, poverty reduction and sustainable development is relatively low compared to other least developed countries who have made agriculture a strong way for the economic development of their country. We have been unable to take benefit from our available agricultural resources. Our valuable herbs are sold without processing in the foreign countries without any processing in very cheap price. To control the ballooning trade deficit the country should increase the agricultural production through the new and modern technology. The government has introduced new trade policy 2015, foreign investment policy 2015 with the aim that the trade sectors helps in the economic growth and achieve economic prosperity.
-- Romi Gauchan Thakali, Minister for Commerce
Maximize your profit
I request the investors to increase investment in Nepal and maximize the returns. After the promulgation of the Constitution, there's an investment-friendly environment in Nepal. On top of that, developments in the energy sector have created a conducive environment for investors. Whether it's in hydropower or any other sector, Nepal is a lucrative investment destination. As of now, Nepal is a least developed country. But progress in the energy sector will turn it into a developing country. The projects with installed capacity of 3,900 MW are in the process of generating power, whereas the government is preparing to issue power generation licenses to projects with total capacity of 5,400 MW. The government has projects with total capacity of 8,400 MW in the pipeline. The government is collecting money from the public for power generation. The power producers need not worry as power generated in Nepal will not go waste. Strides in power generation will make Nepal an industrial hub. Every sector in Nepal is becoming vibrant and surplus energy can be sold to countries like China, India and Bangladesh.
-- Janardan Sharma, Minister for Energy
Invest in heli companies
Despite being small in terms of area and population, Nepal has 50 airports which mean the country has huge tourism potential. The government is also planning to add six more airports within the couple of years. The air service agreement has been done with 38 countries to operate direct flights to those countries. Currently around 26 airlines companies operate direct flights to Nepal. The country has only nine helicopter companies in operation. The investors can invest on the helicopter companies as huge number of high paying tourists come to Nepal. Nepal has huge possibility to attract tourists from the neighboring countries India and China. The government is hopeful that European Union will lift the ban on Nepalese airlines companies.
-- Sugat Ratna Kansakar, MD, Nepal Airlines
Pricing according to use
The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) is charging the consumers flatly for 24 hour. But the pricing mechanism has to be changed according to use. The pick hour -- in the evening and morning -- price h as to be a little higher and the off hour -- in the day time -- price has to be lower. The NEA has been running in loss. And by changing the pricing mechanism, NEA can also come out of its loss. The new system will not only change the electricity consumption habit. The consumer will use more power when it is cheaper and use less when it is expensive. Currently, per capita electricity consumption stands at 130 units, which can be raised to 200 units by managing the timeling and pricing, apart from increasing the power generation. The country will be independent on power in the next two years as the electricity generation has been increasing of lately also due to NEA's new Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) rate. The new PPA will also attract more foreign direct investment (FDI) in the power sector.
-- Kulman Ghising, MD, NEA
Agriculture, niche sector for investment
The country like Nepal needs more investment on agriculture. The more the investment on the agricultural sector, the more country can export the agricultural products. The rise in production directly decreases the import of agricultural products in the country. We always talk about investing on the agricultural sector but the country has always failed to invest and attract foreign investors on the agricultural sector. The government should encourage the investors to invest on the high value crops like cardamom, ginger, amongst others. The high value crops grown in Nepal have huge market on the foreign countries. I came to know that the government is planning to allocate Rs 30 billion for the agricultural sector in the next fiscal year. This step by the government to invest on the agricultural sector is encouraging for the people involved in the agricultural sector.
-- Ananda Bagaria, MD, Nimbus
The new constitution of Nepal has brought the free market economy. Nepal sits in between two giant countries India and China in term of economy and population. Nepal has huge possibility of exporting agricultural production to India and China. For the proper economic growth of Nepal, the government should seriously invest on the agricultural sector. The government has collected around 15 percent more revenue from the agricultural sector than the expectation in this fiscal year. The export of the agricultural products is also up by 14 percent in the first four months of this fiscal year.