KATHMANDU, AUG 07 – Kaski district topped the foreign direct investment (FDI) list in the last fiscal year 2013-14 with massive Indian commitments in the hydropower sector. The district, where the tourist city of Pokhara is located, received FDI pledges worth Rs 5.57 billion. Myagdi followed with Rs 4.08 billion and Kathmandu came third with Rs 4.06 billion, said the Department of Industries (DoI).
A number of countries have pledged FDI in Kaski with the largest commitment of Rs 5.26 billion coming from India. Himalayan Hydro and General Construction (India) pledged to invest this amount in a hydropower project with a capacity of 44 MW. The Indian investor has a 75 percent stake in the project.
Other countries that have pledged investments in Kaski are Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, Finland, the UK, the US, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and even war-torn Syria.
Kaski has been attracting huge amounts of FDI for the last few years. In fiscal 2012-13, it received pledges valued at Rs 964 million, the fourth largest amount.
Pokhara-based entrepreneur Ananda Raj Mulmi said that Kaski district had been attracting foreign investment in the areas of tourism, hydropower and organic farming. “Many domestic and foreign investors have been pouring money into projects in the outskirts of Pokhara near Begnas and Rupa lakes. They have shown an interest in investing in organic farming in this region,” said Mulmi, who is also a former president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI).
He added that there was no massive hydropower development in the region as there were no big rivers. One hydropower project, Upper Madi, is being developed with Chinese investment.
Entrepreneurs believe that the road being built along the Kali Gandaki River to Lumbini and efforts to extend the Pokhara-Mustang road to the northern border at Koral in Mustang will attract more investment to Pokhara.
In terms of the number of FDI projects, Kathmandu came on top with 151 projects followed by Lalitpur with 80 and Kaski coming third with 27. Kathmandu is traditionally the largest recipient of FDI.
In the last fiscal year, the country received FDI worth Rs 20.10 billion. The number of FDI projects reached 305.
Myagdi secured the second slot in terms of FDI pledges with a single commitment worth Rs 4.08 billion from China for a 49 MW hydropower project.
Himalayan Infrastructure Fund and Tundi Investment Company of Nepal and Sichuan Ji Antai Energy Development Company of China have established a joint venture to develop the project in which FDI will account for 80 percent of the capital.
There are four big FDI pledges for Kathmandu in the areas of printed and laminated packing, hydropower, solar energy and hospital and medical services.
According to the DoI, investors from Japan and the British Virgin Islands have pledged FDI to Moonlight Hydropower Company and Printed and Packaging Materials Manufacturing Industry respectively. Likewise, US-based Seed Energy Inc and Subhas Kedia India have pledged FDI to Sun Farmer Nepal and Vayodha Hospital respectively.
Fewer districts received FDI pledges in fiscal 2013-14. The number of districts receiving FDI pledges dropped to 28 from 32 in the previous fiscal. China overtook India in terms of FDI commitment with Rs 6.54 billion compared to Rs 5.94 billion from India.