NRNs seek amendments to FITT Act for investment-friendly environment

Published On: March 3, 2019 06:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 3: Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) has sought a number of legal reforms to attract foreign investment into the country from the non-resident Nepali community.

A proposal submitted to National Planning Commission (NPC) on Wednesday by Nepal Policy Institute, the think-tank unit of the NRNA, has demanded revisions in the integrated Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer (FITT) Act Amendment Bill 2019 for open, competitive and attractive investment environment.

The proposal says that the law should treat all non- Nepali nationals, Nepali diaspora, and the people of Nepali origin equally on the matter of investments, and that they should be allowed to invest with 100 percent ownership of enterprises.

Likewise, the proposal has demanded investment approval through one-door within seven working days. The bill is silent on the matter of date, but a separate Public Private Partnership and Investment Bill tabled in the parliament this week has a provision for one-door service to investors without any fixed days for approval.

Though the FITT has not reserved any investment amount cap for the NRNs, the institute has proposed that an enterprise with paid-in equity capital of less than US $150,000 be reserved to Nepali nationals, allowing foreign nationals to invest above the amount. However, such threshold should be set at US $ 100,000 if the enterprise is related to technology transfer with direct employment of 20 Nepali nationals, according to the proposal. Likewise, they have sought equal rights of investment in all respects as that of Nepali citizens.

They have also suggested that a Nepal-born former Nepali national be allowed to own 5,000 square meters of urban land and four hectares of rural land for business and enterprise purposes. Existing laws say that they can hold any land for business and enterprise purposes with justification for the business purpose.

The institute has also sought investment security as well as no policy changes by seeking to put a clause: 'Non-government agency shall be allowed to nullify the provisions granted under FITT Bill'.

Likewise, the institute has demanded a permission to repatriate foreign currency investments, profit from investment, and principle of any loan obtained during the course of business operations in the new bill. The bill has allowed repatriation of the investments but for the purpose of repatriation, the FDI should have been permitted.

The proposal has come at a time when the government has already tabled the bill in the parliament and is trying to get it through as soon as possible considering the investment summit slated at the end of this month.

Lawmakers will soon start registering amendment motions in the parliament, and it will be sent to the parliamentary committee depending upon the registration of amendment motions.

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