Analysts urge investors to inject capital into new areas

- RAJESH KHANAL, Kathmandu

Feb 19, 2019-

Analysts on Monday urged investors to inject their capital in Nepal, pointing out the present condition as a right time for the purpose as the country has started implementing federalism and the government is also keen at revising a number of policies.

Speaking on the theme “Where is the money?” on the second day of the Kantipur Conclave, the panellists highlighted the role of investment in Nepal’s untapped business areas and how they can contribute to the nation’s growth. Faris Hadad Zervos, country manager of World Bank-Nepal, said it was the right time to invest in Nepal as the country was on a quest for growth and had given priority to people’s prosperity.

“We must look for the paradigm shift by bringing in the private sectors, which might not be accomplished in just 2-3 years,” said Zervos.

Nepal is struggling to achieve the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) introduced by the United Nations in 2015. The 2030 targeted programme has set 17 goals, including to end poverty, among others. Zervos said Nepal needs economic growth rate of at least 8 percent per annum to achieve the middle country status by 2030.

The country has also been facing the challenge of expanding trade deficit with a massive surge in imports every year. The phenomenon has also led to the decline in the country’s foreign currency reserve.

The World Bank country manager, however, opined that imports could not be bad for a country if they are mainly targeted for purchasing the capital goods. “Rather, such imports will help the country enhance its capacity in the long run,” said Zervos.

Bhoj Raj Poudel, project management specialist at the Ministry of Finance, said the government was planning to revise the old acts and policies to attract investments.

“The initiatives are aimed at untangling bottlenecks for infrastructure development,” he said.

According to the panellists, Nepal has made incredible progress in the social and political arenas. However, the country is yet to achieve a significant economic progress. Nepal needs an estimated $20 billion per year. While the government is set to inject around 55 percent of it, the rest will have to be generated from the private sector. “It is the right time to debate on why the money and where the money is,” said session moderator Siddhant Pandey, who is also the chairman and CEO of Business Oxygen Private Limited.

Aditi Shrestha, investment officer for Nepal at the International Finance Corporation, said Nepal needed to develop its niche market in agriculture, among other sectors, to attract foreign investment. “Resolving the bottlenecks in policy implementation and building up local entrepreneurship are among other fundamentals in line,” said Shrestha, adding that foreign investors always look for local partners while incepting any sort of business.

Abhishek Kumar, managing partner at Rainforest Venture Network, shared that it was important to create ecosystem to lure private equity companies which contribute towards generating the capital investment. “Improvement in communication among the entrepreneurs and policy makers is an important tool that ensures the investors minimise possible risks,” he said.

Published: 19-02-2019 10:08

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