Print Edition - 2015-01-28 | MONEY
Nepal makes pitch for energy, connectivity
-, KUALA LUMPUR
Jan 27, 2015-In a first of its kind, Nepal has made a strong pitch for foreign investments at a high-profile international forum, ‘Nepal Investment Summit 2015’, organised outside the country. Despite constitutional vacuum and differences among political parties, Nepali officials stressed, there is now broad political consensus that Nepal needs quick and heavy investments to upgrade its infrastructure--primarily, the energy and transportation sectors.
The summit was inaugurated by Minister for Urban Development Narayan Khadka and Samy Vellu, Malaysian Special Envoy of Infrastructure to Southern Asia. “All major political parties in Nepal are one on rapid economic growth of the country and our private sector is ready to support us,” said Khadka. “Come with your investment plans, we are ready to facilitate you.”
Speaking on the occasion, Vellu said: “I’m grateful that Nepal has organized investment summit here. I’ve spent my whole life for infrastructure development and I’m ready to exchange my experiences with Nepal.”
Vellu who visited Nepal last month and interacted with President, prime minister and ministers added, “There are enough potentialities to make Nepal Switzerland of the East but for this to happen, strong political will and hard work is needed.”
Malaysia-based Confexhub and Kathmandu-based Full Bright Consultancy are the main organisers of the summit.
“We made a strong pitch in the summit for Nepal’s power sector and road connectivity. Now, we need a quick follow up,” said Lal Krishna KC, head of Fullbright Consultancy.
Explaining the rationale behind organising the summit in Malaysia, KC who has three decades of experience in infrastructure development further said, “We don’t need to visit western countries for investments. Malaysia which has many similarities with Nepal could be such destination. That is why we organised the investment summit here.”
The Nepali delegation that is led by Minister Khadka comprises of National Planning Commission Vice-chairman Govinda Raj Pokharel, Finance Secretary Suman Prasad Sharma, Physical Planning Secretary Tulsi Prasad Sitaula, Nepal Investment Board CEO Radesh Pant, Nepali Ambassador to Malaysia Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat and Alternative Energy Promotion Centre Executive Director Ram Prasad Dhital.
According to Nepali officials, sound infrastructure and energy self-sufficiency will contribute to the country’s overall growth, just as Malaysia did when they started in the 1980s with aggressive investments in infrastructure.
Investment Board CEO Pant made a strong case in front major investors from the East Asian region, stressing that 2014 was a watershed year for investments in Nepal. It signed important power deals--the Power Trade Agreement and Power Development Agreements (Upper Karnali and Arun III)--which now pave way for huge investments in the power sector.
Presenting a paper, Associate Professor at Nanyang Technology University, Singapore Pradhumna Bikram Rana said Nepal could become a land bridge between Indian and China. “Nepal is also the part of new silk route proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The investors should recognise it,” said Rana.
“Investment in Nepal will be profitable due to various factors such as its geographical advantage of being situated between two rising economic powers, government’s liberal policy, abundant natural resources and availability of labour force,” said Pokhrel, vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission. '
Published: 28-01-2015 11:19