It is inspiring to meet the leaders from India’s business community, investors and entrepreneurs. Leaders of Nepali business community are also with me here as part of my delegation.
I hope the deliberations today would be fruitful in exploring and further expanding business and investment linkages between Nepal and India.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of human life and economies. Not only have we lost our brothers, sisters and citizens but have also been afflicted by the unprecedented economic hardships. Jobs have been lost; businesses collapsed; and livelihoods have become uncertain for many.
We are facing the twin challenges of achieving economic recovery on the one hand and accelerating inclusive and sustainable development on the other. In this context, the significance of collaborative partnership with private sector is even more critical now.
No country can recover and prosper today without government and private sectors joining hands internally and forging partnerships with countries externally. Nepal is now set to graduate from the LDC status by2026. Our aspiration is to emerge as a vibrant middle-income country by the end of this decade.
Nepal seeks to build a closer partnership with the Indian private sector.
We desire to welcome more Indian investors in Nepal and invite them to be a meaningful part of our economic transformation.
We have opened almost every sector of economy for foreign investment. And among these, hydropower, manufacturing, tourism, services, infrastructure, and agro-based industries are our priority sectors.
Our policies envisage to empower the private sector and facilitate businesses. Our tariffs are low; the tax regime is simplified; and trade-related infrastructures are being strengthened.
Incentives for investment in Nepal are no less attractive. Every business that has investment in Nepal has achieved very high rate of return.
The policies as well as procedures for investment have been streamlined.
The Investment Board of Nepal provides one door services for large-scale investors. For example, the Board has facilitated the 900 megawatt Arun-III and the 900 megawatt Upper Karnali hydropower projects–both involving Indian capital.
Lately, SJVN and IBN have entered into an agreement to carry out another mega-project named Lower Arun.
Nepal is not new to Indian investors. Partnership between the businesses and investors of the two countries has quite a long history.
Some of you are already in thehydro energy sector, which will not just help transform the Indian economy but also contribute to mitigating the adverse impacts of climate change.
Though having insignificant carbon footprints, Nepal has also prioritized climate action high in its development agenda.We are now accelerating the development of clean energy through hydropower.
Nepal’s rivers have a tremendous potential to contribute to the green and clean energy security in South Asia. We are eager to enhancing collaborative and joint efforts to harness these resources. Investment in the development of Nepal’s hydropower has mutual benefits.
It is of paramount importance for us to bridge the financing gap to achieve desired development outcomes. I, therefore, invite the investors to join hands in mutually beneficial sectors.
Today Prime Minister Modi Ji and I adopted a Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector Cooperation. This Statement has opened avenues for a long term cooperation in hydropower sector. I call upon business community to seize upon this and invest in hydro power development in Nepal.
Economic reform is a continuous process, for which the Government of Nepal has a firm commitment. We are aware that connectivity infrastructure as well as interconnectedness of economies will have multiplier effects.
Linking Nepal’s highlands with the Indian Ocean with seamless ‘hardware’ and ‘software’ of connectivity is our priority. These include roads, railways, waterways and power grid interconnection.
Cross-border transmission infrastructure is being strengthened with new and upgraded transmissions lines. There is a tremendous potential in power trade. I am confident that surplus power in Nepal starting from the coming wet season will contribute to the operation of industries in India.
Railway link with India is being scaled up. Roads are being upgraded on both sides of the border. Trade and transit procedures at the border are being improved.
Prime Minister Modiji and I flagged off the passenger railway service between Jayanagar and Kurthathis afternoon. This will be a much-anticipated resumption of cross-border railway service after a gap of many years. Trains will be plying on an upgraded railway track.
The construction of two new international airports in Nepal has also been completed. Gautam Buddha International Airport, Bhairahawa is opening for commercial flights from 16 May 2022.
State-of-the-art infrastructure will ultimately ease trade and businesses.
Regional and sub-regional platforms such as SAARC, BIMSTEC and BBIN have further complemented our bilateral economic engagements.
As India celebrates 75th year of its independence, Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, this country has many success stories to share with the rest of world.
India today has emerged as a vibrant economy. It is a major economic powerhouse of the 21st century as well as a pharmaceutical and technology hub.
As a close neighbour with deep and diverse ties, Nepal wishes to benefit from India’s economic rise.
I am sure that today’s event will build on the strong foundation of the ties between our business communities and help scale up the economic relations between Nepal and India.
Excerpts of the address by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba at CII Business Forum.