Put amendment of laws in priority to make Investment Summit a success

Published On: April 21, 2024 07:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Despite the private sector's recommendations to amend about two dozen laws to promote both foreign and domestic investment in the country, the government has yet to make any changes. With only a week left before the Nepal Investment Summit-2024 begins, where the government aims to attract foreign investment, the private sector is concerned about the absence of legal reforms. The government announced the third Nepal Investment Summit-2024 on April 28 and 29, citing insufficient domestic capital for the country's development and prosperity. Although the Investment Board Nepal is preparing to showcase projects worth billions of rupees during the summit, stakeholders are worried due to the lack of a legal framework to instill trust in potential investors. Instead of addressing the necessary amendments to laws through parliament, the government has concluded the winter session without action. Despite the provision to amend laws through an ordinance, the issues raised by the stakeholders over the years remain unaddressed. Both domestic and foreign investors continue to question Nepal's investment-friendly legal environment, which is a concerning development. We call upon all parties including the government and opposition parties to prioritize expediting amendment of crucial laws to ensure the success of this monumental event.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s emphasis on providing a secure and investment-friendly environment is commendable. With invitations extended to over 1,100 potential investors and more than 100 projects identified for showcasing, there is a palpable sense of optimism surrounding the summit. From clean energy to tourism, agro-processing to manufacturing, Nepal offers a myriad of investment opportunities for potential investors. However, the realization of these opportunities hinges on swift legislative action as shown by the experiences in the previous summits. The government's failure to amend necessary laws promised for revision casts a shadow over the promising prospects of the summit. While pre-event initiatives in foreign countries showcase proactive engagements, they ring hollow without the requisite legal framework to support investment endeavors. At the heart of the matter lies the responsibility of both the government and opposition parties to set aside partisan differences and prioritize national interests. The success of the investment summit transcends political affiliations—it is a collective endeavor to usher in a new era of prosperity for Nepal. 

Needless to say, the identified projects, ranging from the Nepal-China Friendly Industrial Park to the Upper Marsyangdi-2 Hydropower Project, hold the potential to catalyze economic growth and create employment opportunities for Nepalese citizens. However, their realization requires more than just rhetoric—it demands actionable legislation and a conducive regulatory environment. The legacy of past investment summits serves as a poignant reminder of the pitfalls of inaction. While intentions may be noble, unless backed by tangible progress on the legislative front, they risk being overshadowed by unfulfilled promises. As the countdown to the investment summit begins, there is no room for complacency. The government must expedite the amendment of laws to instill confidence in investors and pave the way for a successful summit. In this regard, the opposition parties must also demonstrate responsibility by lifting their parliamentary obstruction and prioritizing national interests over political brinkmanship. We believe that Nepal has an opportunity to position itself as a beacon of stability and growth in the face of global economic uncertainties. The investment summit serves as a crucial milestone in this journey, but its success hinges on decisive action from all stakeholders.

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