Foreign investors can expect handsome returns in Nepal

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Mar 31, 2019-Kathmandu

Nepali private sector, as well as heads of multinationals working in Nepal, urged prospective foreign investors assembled at the Investment Summit to invest in Nepal, saying that investments made here guarantee handsome returns.

According to the participants at the second day session in the third edition of the summit, easy accessible and supportive government agencies, large proportion of the youth in the population composition, initiatives for the regulatory reforms, aspiring domestic private sectors and expanding market with an increase in the per capita income are the factors behind offering a highly profitable platform for doing business in Nepal.

Moderating the plenary session entitled ‘Investing in Nepal: Experience Sharing,’ Anuj Agrawal, chairman of Nepal Infrastructure Bank, said the returns are astronomical when it comes to the track record of foreign direct investment in Nepal. “The annual return for foreign investment in Nepal is as high as up to 30- 40 percent annually,” said Agrawal, giving an example that insurance companies set up through foreign capital grew their business by more than 100 times over the past decade.

Nepal is in process of attaining political stability. The legal framework also talks on allowing even sub-national governments to put forth potential development projects. Bhawani Rani, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said it was the right time to pour investment into the country to receive a maximum rate of return.

Sharing his experience of investing in Nepal, Upendra Mahato, former president of the Non-resident Nepali Association, said the investors can capitalise their profit if they initiate the business by fulfilling the government compliances. “Repatriation is relatively easy compared to other countries. The government officials are accessible while the private sectors are supportive to resolve problems encountered during the course of doing business,” he added.

Nirukt Sapru, chief executive officer of Vietnam, ASEAN and South Asia Cluster Markets, Standard Chartered Bank said the bank has never faced any problems due to the alterations in government policies. The bank established its presence in the country over three decades ago.

“With this reason, we no longer believe we are a foreign investor, we are Nepali too,” he said.

With the government giving priority to infrastructure development along with expanding the use of digital technology, Sapru sought the need for the maximum utilisation of the digital technology to take advantage of opportunities in the country.

Aashish Rai, managing director of Unilever Nepal, highlighted the increasing outflow of skilled manpower as the main challenge to harness the opportunities in Nepal. Unilever Nepal, in its operation of over two and a half decades in the country, has set itself as an example due to its noteworthy returns to its shareholders. “If we offer youth with good opportunities, the task of development can be achieved sooner,” Rai added.

The participants opined that Nepal has come up with notable efforts to ensure ease in doing business. “We have also planned to increase our investment portfolio multifold in the next few years,” said Nand Lal Sharma, chairman and managing director of Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited, India. Hari Bhakta Sharma, president of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries, said that almost all the joint venture businesses in Nepal have yielded high profitability till date. Sharma urged the investors not to delay in injecting investment.

Chaudhary Group Chairman Binod Chaudhary said that time has come to tell that we are ready. “We are partnering with Sky Powers for 600 MW green energy. Do not be late or you are going to miss the bus,” he said.

Rajesh Karki

Source: The Kathmandu Post