Creating investment-friendly environment top priority: FinMin

Published On: June 8, 2017 01:00 AM NPT By: Republica

KATHMANDU, June 8: Newly appointed Minister for Finance Gyanendra Bahadur Khadka has said that his priorities would be on creating investment-friendly environment in the country for both domestic and foreign investors.

“I am new at the finance ministry. But I was also knew at the Minister of Water Resources (now Ministry of Energy) where I managed to leave a mark,” he told a gathering of staffers at the ministry on Wednesday evening.

One of the key decisions that he took during his stint at Ministry of Water Resources was to start competitive bidding to award hydropower licenses.

Karki, 60, was the Minister for Water Resources in the government led by late Girija Prasad Koirala after the political change of 2006. He was initially appointed as a minister of state, but later promoted to cabinet minister. 

It was during Karki's tenure that the Ministry of Water Resources awarded the licenses for Arun III and Upper Karnali hydropower projects through open competition. Both the projects are under development.

Such open biddings have become rare for ministers are interested to award licenses to developers on first come, first served basis. The government does not get much benefit from such developers. 

The government got 12 percent of the generated electricity and 27 percent free equity from Upper Karnali, and 21.9 percent free energy from Arun III. 

Karki had also taken the initiative to build Upper Tamakoshi project by utilizing internal resources.

The new finance minister does not have academic background of economic sector. He holds a post graduate degree in Political Science from Tribhuwan University. Similarly, he has attended a non-academic yearlong course designed for political cadres at Heidelberg University, Germany. 

“I myself will judge the success of my works based on realization of economic changes by the people in remote villages of the country,” added Karki. 

Karki, who was also a former president of Nepal Students Union, is close to Nepali Congress President and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. 

Karki contested three elections from Constituency No. 1 in Bhojpur district. He was elected in one of them. He is currently a member of the parliament from proportional quota.

A bureaucrat, who worked with Karki in Ministry of Water Resources, said that the new finance minister is soft-spoken and tends to take decision after evaluating pros and cons and listening to suggestions of his officials.

Karki has inherited the top seat at the finance ministry at a time when country's economic indicators are positive. The country is seeing record high economic growth in over two decades. Sustaining the current fiscal year's growth of nearly 7 percent in the coming fiscal year, expediting develop expenditures, and narrowing trade deficit, are some of the notable challenges that Karki has to cope with. 

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