Archaic lawsInvesting in Nepal’s future is an integral part in achieving the current administration’s slogan of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ (Government sets stage to hold Investment Summit in March, TKP Online, January 17, 2019).
Investing in Nepal’s future is an integral part in achieving the current administration’s slogan of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ (Government sets stage to hold Investment Summit in March, TKP Online, January 17, 2019). There is nothing stopping the current government from attracting foreign investment except archaic laws that prevent it from happening. International donor agencies, NRN Global, and various friendly countries have all pointed to the need to have a fast track investment approach in Nepal. Nepali policy makers with expertise in this field however seem spread out in their thinking on what projects will benefit Nepal the most. Definitely, some of the prioritised sectors are tourism, energy, agriculture and transportation, but other proven resilient sectors are education, health and banking. Foreigners are interested in investing in Nepal, but they are discouraged by private donations sought by various political parties and their leaders for pushing forward investor proposals, which is highly discouraging.
This hurdle can, of course, be overcome through strict monitoring from all sides, including active involvement of the private sector. Moving forward, it is important to scrap the current rigid investment criteria set up by previous Nepal Governments and look at foreign investment reform from an international angle, as noted by Finance Minster Yuvaraj Khatiwada. Nepal does have adequate human resources to sustain a higher external investment scenario, but do the political parties have a collective vision to make it happen? As Khatiwada has consistently suggested as an economic scholar of repute, this idea should be home-grown, not donor driven. Foreign investment has proven to balance external remittance earnings in many neighboring SAARC countries, whereby returning migrant workers have contributed with their skills and expertise if given the opportunity.
Surya B. Prasai, via email