Investment Summit: PM Oli vows to protect int'l investments, 'guarantee' profits

Published On: March 30, 2019 06:30 AM NPT By: Sagar Ghimire  | @sagarghi

KATHMANDU, March 30: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has vowed to protect the investments of foreign investors in Nepal and 'guarantee' their profits, as part of the government efforts to woo foreign investment .

Addressing the inaugural session of the 'Nepal Investment Summit 2019' that kicked off Friday amid much fanfare, Prime Minister Oli cajoled the participating foreign delegates to pour their investments into Nepal, stating that the country was ready for business and investment .

“Nepal is almost a virgin land as far as investment is concerned. Investment in every sector and every field is profitable,” said PM Oli. “Nepal is ready for business and investment. We welcome your investment. Feel secure and seize the moment,” he said. The country has a stable government that enjoys a two-thirds majority in parliament, with development agenda and foreign investment enjoying national consensus, he added.

“And, here is a government that is stable and remains fully committed to protecting your investment with assured profit,” the prime minister further said.

With political stability that is a key prerequisite for growth already fulfilled, the legal, institutional and procedural reforms that were long overdue had gained speed under his leadership, he said.

The government has expedited the process of economic reform in recent months with an aim to lure foreign direct investment and ease the doing-business environment.

Crucial legislation for investment including the Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act and the Public-Private Partnership and Investment Act were approved in the lead up to the investment summit. Prior to passage of those laws, the government implemented a universal and contribution-based social security scheme and amended the labor laws.

The summit, which has brought together over 615 foreign delegates, is scheduled to conclude on Saturday. The government is showcasing 75 projects worth $ 30 billion in different sectors where it is expecting to attract foreign investment. According to government sources, a dozen memorandums of understanding (MoUs) are going to be signed with foreign investors by the end of the summit to bring in their investment.

Minister for Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada said that high and broad-based economic growth, solid economic fundamentals, a transparent and predictable tax system and recent regulatory reforms make Nepal an attractive investment destination .

The government's regulatory reform drive and stability have also made many investors upbeat about the investment prospects in Nepal.

In what appears to be a departure from the opposition party criticizing the government of the day, Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat portrayed Nepal as an attractive destination for foreign investors.

"We need to attract more and more of FDI. Nepal is a very attractive destination. We have a wonderful climate which is rare," said Mahat, a former finance minister.

"Our two neighbors are the fastest growing economic powers. We want to attract investment with these huge markets in mind," he added.

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