Nepal Finance Minister Mahat Calls for Asian Banks to Invest in Nepal’s Development

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KATHMANDU, Nov 10: Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat has urged Asian banks to invest in Nepal.

Addressing the 39th Conference of the Asian Bankers Association (ABA) that kicked off in Kathmandu on Thursday, Finance Minister Mahat said there are immense possibilities for investment in Nepal and urged the chief executive officers of the banks from the Asian countries to pump investment in Nepal.

“There is a big opportunity for investment in Nepal for the private sector as well as for foreign investors. Hydropower sector has huge potential for investment in the context of India pledging to purchase 10,000 megawatts of power from Nepal in 10 years. Therefore, I urge you to invest in hydropower development without any hesitation. The government is committed to facilitating this,” the finance minister reiterated.

Stating that the government will promote green energy through policy measures, he said Nepal has set the target of achieving net zero carbon emission goal by 2045 making all sectors of the economy carbon-free.

Finance Minister Mahat said the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have also expressed their commitment to invest in the mega hydel projects in Nepal and assured the participating banks’ CEOs that the government will create an investment-friendly climate to attract foreign direct investment. He added that investment has been increasing in the hydroelectricity development sector in recent years.

The finance minister stated that policy arrangements are being made by the government placing electricity production, small industries and agriculture in priority.

On the occasion, Nepal Rastra Bank’s (NRB) Governor Maha Prasad Adhikari said the country’s economy is in normal state despite various challenges. Stating that the time has come to completely restructure the means and resources of the banking sector directly contributing to the economic growth, he stressed on the need of securing sustainable economic growth.

He expressed worry that the inflation rate in the country was still above the limit set by the central bank, saying still some emerging markets and developing economies have been facing high inflation.

“The escalating war between Israel and Hamas in West Asia and the drawn-out Russia-Ukraine conflict have posed a challenge in keeping prices stable. As a result of this, many central banks have continued to adopt strict measures through monetary policy, which means we will have to grapple with high interest rates for a long time.”

Governor Adhikari said that Nepali banks have made progress in a short time and stressed on the need of developing the digital banking system.

He pointed out the need of the Asian banks to make the management effective by internalizing the possible risks so as to prevent problematic loans from increasing. The NRB governor said the rapid technological change has benefited the banking system a lot and this has been transforming banking into a profession, stressing on its sustainability.

ABA Chair Eugene S Acevedo pointed out the need of bringing an effective plan along with collaboration for the sustainability of the overall economy of the Asian countries. He expressed the belief that the conference will help the Asian banks to come up with the concept of their forthcoming strategy.

Nepal Bankers’ Association Chair Sunil KC said the conference having the participation of the CEOs of banks from Asian countries that is being organized for the first time in Nepal will help form a long-term strategy on their effective role in facing the challenges in the Nepali banking sector.

Representatives of more than 60 banks and financial sectors of 18 countries are attending the two-day conference jointly organized by Nepal Bankers’ Association and the Asian Bankers Association.

(RSS)