Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Bill

Lawmakers for putting agriculture sector in negative list for FDI

Published On: March 13, 2019 08:53 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 13: As many as 17 lawmakers have proposed to reject foreign direct investment in primary sectors of agriculture like poultry, fishery, horticulture, animal husbandry, milk processing and beekeeping.

In their proposals to amend Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer (FITT) Bill, which is under discussion in parliament, they have proposed to put primary sectors of agricultural sector in the negative list for bringing foreign direct investment. 

The bill, which is prepared by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, has put only poultry in the negative list. The Industry, Commerce, Labor and Consumer Welfare Protection Committee of parliament is holding clause-wise discussion on the bill before tabling it in parliament for endorsement.

Bharat Kumar Shah, Ghanashyam Khatiwada, Narad Muni Rana and Nawaraj Silwal and Kamala Rokka are among the lawmakers who have registered amendment proposals. 

The provision to open foreign investment in milk processing sector has drawn flak from milk producers and associations of dairy cooperatives, among others. They have demanded that the provision be omitted from the bill, arguing that removing this sector from the negative list could make their professional vulnerable.

In their proposals, lawmakers have argued that other sectors like production of medicinal herbs, vegetables, oil crops, and lentils and legumes should also be included in the negative list.

Other lawmakers are for including sectors like security printing, and small and cottage industries in the negative list for foreign investment. Similarly, lawmakers like Yashoda Subedi, Janaradan Sharma, Rekha Sharma, Hari Ram Adhikari and Chudamani Khadka have proposed to put sectors like massage, spa, beauty parlor, hair salon, casino and networking business in the negative list. 

Some lawmakers want foreign investments barred in sectors like computer training, consultancy services of accounts, engineering and law. 

The bill has proposed to limit foreign investments in such firms at 51 percent of total investment. 

Similarly, lawmakers Divya Mani Rajbhandari and Pushpa Bhusal Gautam have proposed to cap foreign investment in these firms at 49 percent. Likewise, lawmaker Metmani Chaudhari has sought to limit foreign investment in consultancy services (management, accounts, engineering, legal services) at 50 percent.

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