High time to invest in Nepal
KAROBAR CORRESPONDENT
Thursday, Sep 12, 2019
131

Finance Minister YubarajKhatiwada today said that Nepal has developed a conducive environment for doing business and investment. Citing that all foreign firms in the country have been making at up to 25 percent return against the global average of 10 percent, Khatiwada said that Nepal is a better option for investors in terms of rate of return.
Speaking at a session at the Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2019, Khatiwada also informed that the government is in the process of conducting sovereign credit rating to facilitate possible businesses in the country. However, Khatiwada acknowledged that the government has not been able to give due priority to the infrastructure sector in the lack of enough resources as the present government also has bigger responsibility of social security of citizens."The Constitution has guaranteed more than 30 fundamental rights to the people and the majority of them are related to social security. Along with this, the government also has to ensure availability of resources (administrative) to all 761 governments across the country," said Khatiwada.
At such context, Khatiwadasaid that the government is promoting support and investment from the private sector for desired economic goals and development aspirations of the country.
As per him, ample investment in the infrastructure, including roadways, railways, airways and the tourism infrastructures will ensure easy entry of the private sector in the development process. Along with this, the government is seeking private sector support also to diversify and divide risks. However, Khatiwada said that some few infrastructure projects can also be operated in a business model in a bid to attract private sector investment in those projects.
RadeshPanta, former chief executive officer of the Investment Board Nepal (IBN) said that the country today needs quality investment for which the government should ensure necessary subsidy packages and coordination with investors.
World Bank vice president JingdongHuosaid that the World Bank has been contributing the private-sector-oriented economic development in Nepal. As per him, the World Bank has been operating 25 projects in Nepal at present while $2.6 billion worth new projects have been initiated in Nepal lately. Moreover, Huo said that the majority of economic indicators of Nepal today are satisfactory.
Sunil KC, chief executive officer of NMB Bank informed that banks have been investing almost 20 percent of their loan portfolio in the infrastructure sector of the country. Of this, the majority of banks investment are on hydropower and renewable energy, he mentioned. Though Nepal needs ample investment in the bid to achieve targeted economic growth rate, KC lamented that the financial sector is often witnessing the crunch of the loanable fund. At such context, KC urged the government to facilitate banks to bring in a fund from offshore markets.
Krishna Acharya, president of ICAN said that 'accountability' is the primary challenge of the country at present. He also highlighted the necessity of effective coordination between government, private sector and the financial sector for the development of infrastructure in Nepal.