KATHMANDU: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is all set to inaugurate the Nepal Investment Summit on Friday. The government hopes to lure investors by presenting $30 billion worth of potential projects in a bid to plug Nepal’s infrastructure funding gap.
Most of the foreign investors who have confirmed their participation in the capitalist jamboree are from Nepal’s immediate neighbours China and India. Among the 600 foreign delegates and investors from 40 countries, 265 are from China (225 from the mainland) and 120 from India.
“Nepal has held two investment summits in 1992 and 2017, but this one will be different,” said Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada, addressing a pre-summit briefing on Wednesday. “There will be 77 projects, including 27 from the private sector, for investors to check out. We will tell them what kind of returns they can expect by investing in them. The summit will be an investment network between the government, foreign investors and Nepali investors.”
The government announced that it would finalize all the projects that are selected by the investors by May. The Nepal Investment Summit is part of the effort to address what the government says is a funding gap in transport, energy, industry, agriculture, and health and education infrastructure over the next decade.
The government has amended three vital pieces of legislation–Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act, Public Private Partnership and Investment Act and Special Economic Zone Act–to simplify the process for foreign investment. “We are also in the process of amending the Foreign Exchange Act, implementing hedging funds and gearing up for Nepal’s credit rating,” the finance minister said.
According to the government, the Cabinet has approved ‘one-stop service’ at the Ministry of Industry ensuring approval for foreign direct investment within a week. “All these reform measures, we think, will be vital in attracting foreign investment in a sustainable way,” said Khatiwada.
According to Investment Board Nepal, the key figures participating in the event are U Thaung Tun, Union Minister for Investment and Foreign Economic Relations of Myanmar; Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice-President for the South Asia Region; Shixin Chen, Vice-President of the Asian Development Bank; Keiko Honda, Chief Executive Officer of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency; Hans-Peter Lankes, Vice-President of Economics and Private Sector Development at International Finance Corporation; and Dong Lee, Vice-President of the Investment Operations Department at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.