Foreign Minister invites Japan to partner in Nepal's development
November 20, 2018 12:31 PM NPT
Photo Courtesy: MOFA/Twitter
KATHMANDU, Nov 20: In his first official visit to Japan, minister for foreign affairs, Pradeep Gyawali stressed the need to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse fields that would benefit both Japan and Nepal.
"Japan has been a valuable partner in our development efforts. We thank the Government of Japan for their generosity and cooperation," Gyawali said as he addressed the Nepal Investment Seminar jointly organized by the Embassy of Nepal, Japan External Trade Organization and UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office, Tokyo.
Gyawali highlighted Japan's continuous assistance in Nepal's development, including in the aftermath of the two earthquakes that struck Nepal in 2015.
"Japan has extended valuable support during difficult times. We particularly recall Japan’s humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of the April and May 2015 earthquakes and the support provided for the reconstruction," he said. He lauded Japan’s phenomenal progress in the past seven decades and said the country was an example the world could emulate to rebuild nations better.
Debriefing Nepal's political stability after decades of instability, he said that the Himalayan nation had undertaken a decisive journey towards development and prosperity with the motto of 'Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali'. In the journey, "we want to overcome poverty, under-development and other impediments to prosperity."
By triggering investment and development, he said that Nepal aimed to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) status at an early date and aspire to become a middle-income country by 2030. "To achieve these milestones, we require massive investment in infrastructure development and induction of advanced and innovative technology," he said.
He said that investors could utilize Nepal's untapped natural resources and gain attractive returns in areas of hydropower, transport, agriculture, tourism, information technology, mines and minerals, health and education and agro-forestry.
He said that the government was committed to creating an investment-friendly environment by improving measures to improve "Ease of Doing Business."
On November 18, the Minister for Finance, Yuba Raj Khatiwada criticized the World Bank Group's Doing Business Report 2019 that sent Nepal's performance in the global ranking five spots down. Khatiwada objected to the report arguing that the country's latest ranking was pulled down five notches on the basis of a 'small hassle' for employers to fill a form and to provision liabilities for workers like pensions and gratuity under a new requirement for social security arrangement.
At Tokyo, Gywali said that the enactment of new Industrial Enterprise Act, Special Economic Zone Act, Foreign Investment Policy, Establishment of Investment Board of Nepal and Special Economic Zones Authority were some of the policy and institutional reforms were undertaken to create conducive environment for doing business in Nepal and to coordinate inflow of foreign as well as domestic investment.
"The Foreign Investment Act is being further revised to guarantee full protection to foreign investment and simplify the procedures for repatriation. Our laws permit full repatriation of income earned from investment and reinvestment," he added.
Moreover, he said that with a growing middle-class population in Nepal was also a lucrative market within the country. "We have close to 30 million middle-class population," he said.
In addition, he said that availability of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled human resources at low wages was another competitive advantage that Nepal offers to investors. Investments within the country would also help to reduce foreign employment.