Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli rolled out the red carpet to all aspirant investors saying that Nepal has an immense possibility for investment and that it can offer both secure opportunities and profit.
While delivering the inaugural speech at the Kantipur Conclave, the Kantipur Media Group’s flagship global event on Feb. 17, 2019, Prime Minister Oli said that business opportunities in Nepal are backed by unique strategic and locational advantages, with two of the world’s largest markets and fastest growing economies being close to it.
The prime minister also hailed “Kantipur Conclave: Unleashing Nepal’s Potential” as timely and relevant as Nepal is set to host the Investment Summit 2019 in March-end.
“I am confident that this Conclave will provide a useful platform to share innovative ideas and views on harnessing Nepal’s development potential,” he said.
Full text of the speech -----
Address by Prime Minister Rt. Hon. KP Sharma Oli
at Kantipur Conclave: Unleashing Nepal’s Potential
Kathmandu, February 17, 2019
Feb. 17, 2019
Chairperson of the Conclave, Mr. Kailash Sirohiya, Chairman and Managing Director of Kantipur Media Group,
Friends from Media, and
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am truly pleased to attend this Conclave, which has brought together entrepreneurs and businessmen from Nepal and abroad, at a time when Kathmandu’s charming weather is at one of its best following the snowfall in the surrounding hills a few days ago.
Thank you, Mr. Sirohiya and your team for hosting this Conclave on a pertinent theme of ‘Unleashing Nepal’s Potential’.
No event other than this could be so timely and relevant as we are all set to host the Investment Summit 2019 next month.
I am confident that this Conclave will provide a useful platform to share innovative ideas and views on harnessing Nepal’s development potentials.
Past few days have been quite momentous in our efforts to give development agenda a distinct priority. Earlier I had addressed the Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by CNI and shared my thoughts on engaging our youths in productive activities through the development of start-ups. I also inaugurated ‘Nepal Ship Office’ the other day in order to take the concrete steps towards operating our own ships in Nepal’s river. I launched ‘People’s Hydropower Programme’ a few days back with the aim of mobilising scattered small capital among the people and enhancing our overall capacity to generate energy to propel our development activities.
The Government will continue making further headways in development sphere as it enters the second year of its tenure.
Today, I would like to share with you our development potentials, the investment opportunities in the country and our commitment to ensuring good governance.
There should not be any confusion about our future course of development. Our vision is clear, our commitment is steadfast and our action is result-oriented.
The primary task of this government is to accelerate the pace of development.
For me, development is nothing but an outcome derived from the harnessing of potentials inherent in nature and human beings. Both nature and human beings have infinite potentials. Developing human capacity through quality education and training is essential to identify, explore and tap nature’s potentials.
This is challenging but not an impossible task because we carry a rich legacy of genetic memory from our highly innovative and learned ancestors.
Innovation and creative ingenuity is in our blood. And, our young generation stands as our hope for future.
We must create an environment that encourages innovation and creativity to thrive and lead our development course.
Nepal has all the attributes for the development. We have resources. We have stable system and institutions. We have sound and clear policies. We have young people. We have a favourable external environment. We have a single agenda: development; only development.
This Government stands for this and remains whole-heartedly committed to change the economic face of this country; elevate its stature and enhance its dignity.
Nepali people, courageous, honest, hardworking and diligent as they are, deserve a dignified space in the world. Our history is glorious. Our civilization is rich. Our scope of knowledge is wide.
There is nothing that stands on the path of our development, except poverty, malnutrition and backwardness. We have the capacity and we must have capacity to defeat these social evils.
There is no doubt that Nepal is ready to take-off on its journey to greater prosperity. This is our unshakable commitment.
We have to catch up with the rest of the world. We have no luxury to move slow, nor we have any excuse to make. We have both natural and human resources to develop our country.
That’s why my government has underlined the importance of prosperity agenda. The vision of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ is what underpins the Government’s actions and guides its policies.
We believe that modernization of agriculture; generation and transmission of hydropower, development of infrastructure, tourism and manufacturing industries, ICT, health and education have tremendous potentials to transform our economy from a least developed one to a prosperous one.
What we need is the combination of domestic and foreign investment. We are making substantial efforts to mobilize domestic resources. We want an enhanced level of foreign investment to complement our domestic resources.
This way we will meet our development needs and you will contribute to our development efforts while securing good profit for your investment.
In the past seven decades or so, our major pursuit was for democracy and political freedoms, and we could not devote adequate attention to the task of economic development.
Today, the picture is quite different.
We have achieved long-aspired political stability and resolved our political issues in a democratic manner.
We are now working towards social progress and economic prosperity in the country so that the long-cherished dreams of the Nepali people will come to fruition.
In attaining the objectives of economic prosperity within a short time, the major priority of the Government is to achieve socio-economic transformation of the country through optimal utilization of domestic resources as well as by attracting foreign investment and technologies.
For opening up new vistas of development in our country, we welcome foreign investments and technology with open arms.
We embrace foreign investment not only because it builds and upgrades industries and drives competition and innovation, but also because it helps the country to connect with the rest of the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
When it comes to investment, Nepal is the land of immense possibilities. It is a virgin land as far as investment is concerned. Investment in any sector is profitable. Business looks for secure opportunities and also assured profit. Nepal offers both.
A cursory look at the business profile of some of the multinationals in Nepal would tell us an inspiring story. Some of them, for example Dabur Nepal, Surya Nepal, Asian Paints, were established with limited capital injection. Today, they have acquired substantial capital as they grew and made good profit. This is a reality and it substantiates what I have been telling you that investment in Nepal is highly profitable.
Business opportunities in Nepal are backed by unique strategic and locational advantages, being proximate to two of the world’s largest markets and fastest growing economies, namely China and India. If both of our neighbours can make impressive progress in multiple spheres, why cannot we do the same? Nepal cannot escape from the heat of development in the neighbourhood. Development is inevitable in Nepal. We are well-connected with both of our neighbours and our intention is to move from the situation of land-locked to a land that connects, that links, and that bridges.
I think our interests and those of the investors converge. We want speedy course of development through enhanced investment and they want opportunities to invest and secure good return. This convergence should lead us to work together to create a win-win situation.
You might not have seen the wide and quality highways and public roads in Nepal. Think of investing in the construction of private highways and roads. We are ready to welcome you! There many areas such as cable car, railways, and metros to invest and can be converted into wealth.
There are boundless opportunities in Nepal. What we need is money and technology.
We need to create five hundred thousand jobs every year. This is possible only if we invest in productive sectors and speed up development works. In order to achieve this goal, we work on a two-pronged strategy: on the one hand we focus on the development of entrepreneurship and empower individuals with skills and, on the other hand, we give top priority to job creation. This, we believe, helps expand economic opportunities for our working age population.
Employment generation and job creation is not possible without the development of science and technology and its proper application. Investment in health and education is important to develop qualified human resources which could, in turn, drive the process of development in science and technology.
New technologies, particularly in ICTs and Artificial Intelligence, are changing the way we think, connect and work.
In the future, human beings are likely to be more intricately linked to a variety of technologies, changing our landscapes unrecognizably.
I want the people of our country to be ready for such change, and to make sure that the new technologies and the new patterns of evolution that we are experiencing work to our advantage.
We are mindful that in an age of technological advancement, there is greater risk of lagging behind unless we catch up with the rest of the world with required speed.
What is our strength in this context then?
Our variegated topography, abundant natural resources and incredible bio-diversity give rise to vast untapped potentials in hydropower, agriculture, as well as research and marketing of aromatic and medicinal plants. In addition, the natural beauty and rich cultural heritage create huge opportunities for tourism.
Apart from our natural resources and fertile land, the first is of course our demography, which is one of the most precious resources that we possess.
We are an ancient country with a young population, and the youth of our nation are in a position to bring positive change that can alter the social and economic landscape of our country.
Our youth will spearhead the socio-economic transformation of the country by taking the lead in adapting new technologies in agriculture, industry and services sectors of the economy.
We are equally mindful that our demographic composition is also in a flux with rapid depopulation in some parts of the country.
In many areas of Nepal, people are beginning to leave their ancestral homes and lands in search of better opportunities in employment, education and health services.
Vast tracts of lands are left barren in many rural areas while the urban centres are struggling to cope with the newly-arrived people with little or no skills, education or financial resources.
This trend of shifting population has posed before us two-pronged challenges: the challenge of sustainable urbanization on the one hand while that of keeping our villages vibrant on the other.
We are, therefore, focused on building, expanding and developing urban infrastructure to absorb the people who have moved out from the rural to urban centres.
In the rural areas, our focus is on providing basic public goods, mechanising farming, improving livelihoods and expanding physical connectivity.
Now, I will touch on investment opportunities and good governance.
If you have been waiting for the most appropriate time for investing in Nepal, now is the time.
After a protracted phase of political transition, Nepal today enjoys a peaceful, democratic and stable political order.
Our commitment is not devoid of action. Business-friendly policies and laws have either already been enacted or are in the process of finalization.
The Government has put in place a robust regulatory framework and promulgated enabling policies in a range of specific sectors of the economy.
We are actively pursuing administrative reforms and strengthening of institutions. One-stop-centre for services will be provided to the investors.
The macroeconomic condition of our economy is relatively stable, and conducive to long-term investments and economic growth.
The labour laws are flexible and supportive of healthy industrial relations as well as of economic growth and efficiency. Special Economic Zones are being set up at several locations, where investors can take the benefit of further incentives and regulatory flexibility.
The energy supply situation has improved significantly, and road, railway and aviation infrastructure are under rapid expansion.
We allow foreign investors 100% ownership of a company in almost all sectors, with the facility of repatriating capital and profits to the investor’s home country. There is no obstacle in repatriating capital.
The treatment to foreign investors is on par with domestic entrepreneurs, along with the guarantee of non-nationalization of industries.
There are several bilateral treaty arrangements for the promotion and protection of investment and for the avoidance of double taxation.
The Government is committed to providing required infrastructure to encourage investors to invest in productive sectors so that the industries do not face any infrastructure bottlenecks after they start operation.
If you feel that there is still room to improve in order to bolster your investment decision, do let us know. The Government of Nepal is always open to constructive advice and committed to bringing any positive ideas into operation. In order to facilitate the dialogue with business community, we have already established a business advisory council.
It is only good governance and the rule of law that will ensure that state policies are executed as per their true intent and purpose.
We are committed to fighting corruption at all levels and providing good governance, and ensuring the rule of law across the entire spectrum of governance structures in the country.
The Government is deploying its resources and concentrating its undivided attention on instituting a system of governance that will help deliver the public goods that the State must provide, as well as regulate the market as a fair and impartial regulator. In every economic sector, we are committed to eliminate cartel and syndicate once and for all and ensure free and fair competition.
We have made substantial progress in governance sector over the past year.
A smooth and successful transfer of power among 761 governments at different levels is no small achievement.
A bigger challenge is to ensure that the systems of governance that we develop now and that will remain in place for generations to come are both efficient and transparent.
As a vehicle for translating the wishes of the people into concrete outcomes, such system of governance should be of top quality and should be able to deliver services to the people in realizing their full potentials and building a progressive society with equitable opportunities for all.
Why I have put so much emphasis on the establishment of business enterprises of transformative nature? Because we have seen the contribution of leading industries around the world that have changed the development landscapes of those countries?
Just as Nokia is identified with Finland; Samsung, LG and Hyundai with Republic of Korea; Toyota with Japan; Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft and other big companies with the USA; Ali Baba with China; and Infosys with India, we need an established company that will be identified with Nepal: an emerging Nepal; a prosperous Nepal.
Finally, I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to all those who are involved in the noble task of nation-building.
I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of you for your patience, and extend my best wishes for the success of the Conclave.