Investment year proposed

Investment year proposed

13 July 2015 | Karobar

Neeru Aryal

KATHMANDU, July 13 - The Industry Ministry is preparing to celebrate the fiscal year 2072/73 as Investment Year to attract foreign investment and boost the morale of domestic investors, according to Industry Minister Mahesh Basnet. The ministry has proposed to the Finance Ministry to announce Investment Year through the budget to be presented on Tuesday even though the policy and programs passed by the parliament on Sunday does not speak about that. There is, however, uncertainty as to whether the budget to be presented on Tuesday will include it as the Industry Ministry sent the proposal late. The government has been facing criticism as the policy and programs did not address the issue of attracting foreign investment. “We have proposed the program by holding discussion with the Finance Ministry,” Joint Secretary at the ministry Yam Kumari Khatiwada said. “The upcoming fiscal year will be Investment Year if the budget addresses the proposal. We will do adequate homework if announcement is made. The main objective will be to attract as much foreign investment as possible,” she added.

The government has already issued Foreign Investment Policy 2014 with an aim of attracting foreign investment, and is preparing to soon bring Industrial Enterprise Act, Special Economy Zone (SEZ) Act, Intellectual Property Policy. “We have prioritized BIPPA with many countries precisely to attract foreign investment. The government, therefore, is active to create environment for both domestic and foreign investors,” minister Basnet said. The government had also announced to celebrate 2012/13 as Investment Year but that did not get priority after being announced without homework. The secretariat for that was established within the premises of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) but could not be implemented, as the government was a caretaker one.

FNCCI President Pashupati Murakra said announcement of Investment Year will send a positive message. “It is the need of the hour to amend the prevailing acts/laws, policies and regulations to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). But merely announcing it will not ensure success. Initiative should also be made for policy reforms and to implement it,” he added. He stressed on the need for the government to make maximum efforts to create investment environment by paying attention to past mistakes. He reminded that many acts like that for electricity and industrial enterprise have not come and trust of investors has not been won. “Foreign investment is needed to develop the country. But announcing Investment Year without necessary homework will not yield results,” he reasoned. President of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) Narendra Kumar Basnyat also said announcement of Investment Year would be a welcome move, but stressed on the need for necessary homework reminding how it was limited to announcement in the past. “It is the need of the hour to maintain policy and political stability as investment depends on government’s policies,” he added.

Foreign investment commitment for Rs 182 billion has been received until the third week of the last month of the current fiscal year, according to the Industry Ministry data. A total of 3,309 projects have come expressing commitment to employ 200,000 persons. The ministry is also preparing to implement online payment system to attract foreign investment. The ministry has also proposed to celebrate Mangsir 9 as the Industry Day from the upcoming fiscal year, and to expand industrial areas in Jhapa, Chitwan, Kaski, Rupandehi, Surkhet and Kanchanpur districts