‘Fasten your seat belts; Nepal’s economy is going to take off’

Published On: March 31, 2019 09:23 AM NPT By: DIYA DHAKAL

KATHMANDU, March 31: With a strong kick start to Investment Summit Nepal 2019, 615 delegates from over 40 countries provided a strong platform for dialogues and articulate discussions regarding Nepal's potential market. 

In the second plenary session of the summit 'Investment in Nepal, Experiencing Sharing,' panelists offered nothing but praises about Nepal's potential to become a large scale market. The panelists included Shixin Chen, vice president of Asian Development Bank (ADB); Hari Bhakta Sharma, president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI); Ashish Rai, managing director of Unlilever Nepal; Nirukt Sarpu, CEO of Vietnam, Asean, and South Asia Cluster; Upendra Mahato, founding president of Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA); Bhawani Rana, president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI); and Nand Lal Sharma, chairman and managing director of SJVN Nepal. The session was moderated by Anuj Agrawal, chairman of Nepal Infrastructure Bank.

Agrawal stated that foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nepal is "one of South Asia's best kept secrets." He said: "Returns are astronomical and the country has an impeccable record on repatriation." Owing to Nepal's diverse geography and strategic location along with its rich natural resources, Nepal poses a stronghold to stand out as a strong economy.  Panelist Sharma described the country to be a land of tremendous opportunities. "Nepal is a virgin market," Sharma said, adding: "You can literally produce and invest in any sector."

Panelists also shed light on Nepal's openness in policymaking and its recent emphasis on public-private partnership, one window system, and foreign direct investment. FNCCI president Rana described Nepal to be the best place for investment, and emphasized on how a stable government was Nepal's best asset. With the government's strong engagement in infrastructure development in various sectors including railway, roadway, information technology, and airports among others; there are vast possibilities for prospective entrepreneurs, she added. 

Mahato described Nepal to be the safest place for investment. "Problems of repatriation are only talks," he stated and guaranteed that Nepal was the only country in the world with no default in payment to foreign suppliers. He said that the usual trend among business entrepreneurs was to complain about problems without sharing their success stories, which has resulted in a misinterpretation of the Nepali market. 

According to the panelists, Nepal has no competition—a huge boon—in comparison to other developed nations. The country's openness to policy making gives room for maximum exploration of its abundant resources, rising demands and consumption rate, whereas the diverse demography, strategic location between two giant economies, and its active youth population provide opportunities for so many possibilities, they said.

"We have the power to make transformative impact in so many sectors including micro financing, energy, transport, water supply, sanitation, education, and climate change adaptation among others," Chen said, boasting of the countless possibilities in Nepal, which he describes to be an untapped market.

“Fasten your seat belts, Nepal's economy is going to take off," Sharma stated, emphasizing on the need to start investing now. "Nepal is now taking off," Chen said as concluding remarks while emphasizing on the profits of immediate investment into this very raw market.

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