Nepal is offering ‘huge potential’ for Qatari investors, says envoy
November 4, 2018 11:30 AM NPT
DOHA, Nov 4: Nepal is offering “huge potential” for Qatari investors in various sectors such as hydropower, tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, and other sectors, according to the country’s top diplomat in Doha.
Nepal’s ambassador Ramesh Prasad Koirala made the statement during an interactive business meeting at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel hosted under the auspices Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari.
During the meeting held in the presence of Bhandari and Qatar’s ambassador to Nepal, Yousuf bin Mohamed al-Hail, Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman highlighted Qatar-Nepal bilateral relationships.
He said Nepal and Qatar established diplomatic relations on January 21, 1977. One of Nepal’s major tourist attractions includes the highest peak of the world, Mount Everest, and Lumbini, the birth place of Buddha.
Citing the IMF October 2018 Outlook, Seetharaman said Nepal’s economy is expected to grow by 6.3%. The main sector of the economy is agriculture, which employs over 70% of the population and accounts for 33% of GDP.
“As Nepal is home to the highest mountains in the world, tourism has been steadily growing in importance and is an important source of revenue. The growth rate is the result of stable government, good monsoon, and implementation of big projects,” Seetharaman said.
On fiscal and monetary developments, Seetharaman said Nepal presented a budget of $12.15bn for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, with a target of achieving an economic growth rate of 8%.
The development of highways, railways, irrigation, energy, and urban infrastructure, post-earthquake reconstruction, and good governance were the other priorities of the budget, according to Seetharaman, adding that it aims to create additional employment for 500,000 people in the next fiscal.
“The government has sought to encourage foreign direct investment in export-oriented sectors. Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the country’s central bank, is currently supervising 196 banks and financial institutions, including 28 commercial banks, for an economy of just $21bn,” he said.
Koirala said with more than 400,000 residents in Qatar, Nepal is the second largest expatriate community in the country. Nepalis are contributing in the construction and development of Qatar, he said.
On Kuwait-Nepal relations, Seetharaman said Kuwait and Nepal established diplomatic relations in 1972, and since then relations “have grown steadily.”
On India-Nepal bilateral relationship, he said India and Nepal trade was above $7bn in 2017-2018. Nepal’s main imports from India are petroleum products, motor vehicles, and spare parts, rice, and vegetables.
Nepal’s export basket to India mainly comprises jute goods, zinc sheet, textiles, threads, and polyester yarn, he said.