March 3, 2017 01:10 AM NPT
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal with Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Kathmandu on Thursday.
KATHMANDU, March 3: Indian Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley, has said that Nepal holds tremendous potential as a destination for investment. Speaking at the Nepal Investment Summit 2017 in the capital on Thursday as the keynote speaker, the Indian Finance Minister also said that Nepal can utilize its vast natural resources for the development of the country.
He said investment in sectors like energy, agriculture, tourism, irrigation and transportation can steer Nepal toward the path of economic development. “India is committed to partner Nepal in its aspirations for growth, to invest in hydropower, to connect Nepal to India's rail network, irrigation, health, education sectors, transmission lines, roads and bridges, among other sectors,” said Jaitley.
Meanwhile, leaders of both the big ruling parties and the main opposition party have said that there should not be any opposition when it comes to the issue of spurring economic development and facilitating investment. They tried to put across a message to nearly 300 international investors participating in the summit that they are on the same page on the issue of prioritizing economic transformation, with the conclusion of the political transition and promulgation of the constitution.
“We are aware of the fact that economic distress remains at the core of political instability. Economic transformation should underpin political transformation. Political gains cannot be sustained if we fail to steer economic development,” said Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, addressing the inaugural session.
“How long could Nepal afford to be a poor nation --despite the availability of huge natural and human resources? How could Nepal lag behind when our neighbors make incredible economic progress? These are the questions that deserve our immediate answers,” he said, vowing to ensure an environment conducive to investment through the establishing of industrial peace and ensuring law and order.
Stating that the abundance of resources, both natural and human, and large and growing markets in the neighborhood would ensure profitability in Nepal, Prime Minister Dahal also urged foreign investors to come here and pour their money into hydropower, agriculture, tourism, service sector, financial institutions, construction and infrastructure connectivity.
Sher Bahadur Deuba, president of the Nepali Congress, echoed Dahal's sentiments. Deuba said that his party had initiated economic reforms in the country to attract foreign investment. “Nepali Congress led the liberalization movement, both political and economic, in the country in the 1990s. We are committed to continue the reform so that we can have more investment in the country for the development of the country,” he added.
KP Sharma Oli, the leader of the main opposition CPN (UML), said that his party would not act as an opposition bench when it comes to economic development and courting foreign investment. “I would like to assure you that the ruling parties and opposition are together in terms of economic development of the country. We promulgated the constitution and are now focusing on development, so we need your investment. We are ready to create a conducive environment for you to make investments here,” he added.
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun said that the bank could invest in the energy sector in Nepal.