Government Amends Laws to Woo Investors Ahead of Summit

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KATHMANDU, April 23: To attract domestic and foreign investors, the government has amended nine laws through an ordinance. These amendments are made on the eve of the Nepal Investment Summit-2024 and address long-standing complaints from the private sector that the existing laws hinder the creation of an investment-friendly environment in the country.

The government is set to host the Nepal Investment Summit-2024 on April 28 and 29, stating insufficient domestic capital for the development and prosperity of the country. The Bill to amend some Nepal Acts related to investment facilitation was approved by the Council of Ministers meeting on Monday. The ordinance will come into effect after the President’s approval.

Finance Minister Barshaman Pun said that these amendments aim to build investors’ trust. “On the recommendations of the private sector, we have amended the laws through an ordinance to facilitate investment,” Pun said, “This will provide a positive message ahead of the upcoming investment summit.”

The ordinance includes amendments to the Lands Act of 2021 BS, National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act of 2028 BS, Land Acquisition Act of 2034 BS, Electronic Transactions Act of 2063 BS, Special Financial Act of 2073 BS, and Public Private Partnership and Investment Act of 2075 BS, Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act 2075, Forest Act 2076, and Industrial Enterprises Act 2076.

The significant amendment to the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2029 will ease the execution of projects in forest areas, especially those deemed of national priority or approved by the Investment Board Nepal (IBN). By amending the Electronic Transactions Act, 2063, the process of foreign exchange payments has been made easier.

The Special Economic Zone Act, 2073 has been amended so that the investor of the industry operating outside the Special Economic Zone can transfer the used machines, tools, or equipment to the Special Economic Zone and operate the industry. These new arrangements will facilitate the export of goods produced within these zones.

The Forest Act, 2076 has been amended to make it easier for mining to be carried out after discovering that there are minerals within the national forest, conducting an environmental study, and obtaining approval from the government following the existing law.

Arrangements have been made to allow the use of raw materials in national priority projects or projects approved by the IBN or projects of national pride, national priority industries. The Industrial Business Act, 2076 now includes provisions to support the registration and operation of startup enterprises.

Although the private sector has been suggesting to amend about two dozen laws to encourage investment, the government has amended only some laws. Rajesh Kumar Agrawal, president of the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), mentioned the need to amend as many as 24 laws and regulations, retract five laws, and introduce three new laws to foster an investment-friendly environment in the country.

Domestic and foreign investors have been raising questions stating that there are no investment-friendly laws in Nepal. Aiming at the investment summit, the law reform committee chaired by Secretary Ek Narayan Aryal recommended amendments to a dozen laws for the policy, structural and procedural reforms.

After the amendment of the above-mentioned laws, the legal and policy obstacles in industry, business and investment have been removed. It is believed that implementing construction projects and establishing industries will be easier.

The IBN has prepared to showcase about 150 projects at the investment summit. Sushil Bhatta, chief executive officer of the IBN, said that these projects are in various sectors, including energy, infrastructure, tourism, IT, agriculture, and other sectors. “Some projects are still under study and preparation,” he added.

About 300 foreign investors from about 50 countries have registered for the summit, with invitations sent to about 1400. The event expects to host over 650 investors, including a significant number from China and India, as well as attendees from America, Japan, the UK, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and other countries.

 

Source : Republic