• 11 Aug 2015 | 08:49am

KATHMANDU, Aug 11: Indian investors have complained about the lengthy process for repatriation of earnings from the country and demanded that the government work to make the process shorter if it wants to encourage investors. Presenting a paper at 'Interaction with Indian Investors in Nepal' on Monday, Nepal-India Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Budhaditya Mukherjee said that the process of returning earnings from Nepal to parent companies was lengthy.Mukherjee is director of Asian Paints, an India-based company operating in Nepal. Speaking at the same event, Khadga Bahadur Bishta, the president of Independent Power Producers Association, said that Norwegian Hydropower Company -- whom he works for -- has also been facing the same kind of problem for many years. Government officials, however, said that there was no problem in repatriation of investment.

The Department of Industry Director General Maheshwor Neupane responded at the event that the government has to verify whether the investment inflow was via proper banking channels and also confirm with the book of accounts of the firms and companies. Bipin Rajbhandari, the chief of the Foreign Investment Division, told Republica that it took a maximum two weeks after submission of all essential documents for recommendation to be forwarded to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).

NRB Executive Director Nar Bahadur Thapa said that there was no problem if they (foreign companies) complied with the Industrial Enterprises Act and other related laws while allowing for the repatriation of dividend. Mukherjee also listed sectors like tourism, agriculture, information technology, social media, and meat and dairy as investment opportunity areas inside Nepal. Indian investors at the event also asked for tax rebate in reinvestment of dividend. Investors have also sought investor-friendly labor laws, consumer-friendly regulation -- like tax rebate in insurance sector, and protection of intellectual property rights, and recognition, among others.

Likewise, there was also demand for maintaining of industrial zones and for progressive and longer transport windows for Indian vehicles for export and hassle-free operations. Investors also asked the government to prioritize manufacturing sectors over trading business. Likewise, investors have asked the government to exempt factories from national holidays to increase productivity. Speaking at the event, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae suggested that Nepal should have road-shows in India to bring in investors. Referring to the slow service delivery of government agencies, Rae suggested taking up of problem solving attitudes rather than quoting rules and law.
Industry Minister Mahesh Basnet said the government had decided to organize an investment summit this year and celebrate investment promotion years in 2016 and 2017. The event was organized to discuss the investment climate post-earthquake by taking into consideration the rebuilding and reconstruction agenda, and the constitution-rafting process.