Nepal on Wednesday promised a “feel-at-home” environment for Indian entrepreneurs, with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal assuring India that his office would take the initiative to remove all obstacles.
Last year, his predecessor Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda had given a similar commitment, but his tenure was too short to create a conducive atmosphere for Indian businessmen, who complained of extortion threats and plant closures.
Mr. Nepal promised to put in place a security plan after consulting all political parties to protect investment and ensure uninterrupted manufacturing operations. The plan would address the issue of strikes and disruptions so as to keep the industrial production steady and protect investor interest.
“The Prime Minister’s office will make sure that you feel at home and obstacles are removed. You will get a high level of attention from the government. I will personally make sure that foreign investment is given due priority,” Mr. Nepal said, speaking at a luncheon organised by the industrial chambers.
Mr. Prachanda had also said his government would adopt every possible measure to create the necessary conditions, including repatriation of capital and profit earned by investors.
New Delhi considers Indian investment in Nepal a fulcrum for correcting the imbalance in trade, now tilted heavily in favour of India. This approach has been tried out with success in boosting trade with Sri Lanka without skewing the balance further in India’s favour. India has been adopting a similar approach to Bangladesh, but with little success.
“My government will be responsive to all your suggestions,” Mr. Nepal told Indian businessmen, while identifying hydropower, roads, bridges, infrastructure, construction, tourism, agro-processing and financial services as the areas where Indian investment would be especially welcome. He conceded that though the bulk of the foreign investment (43 per cent) received by Nepal was from India, there was potential to increase it further.
Peace and stability in Nepal through all-round economic growth and inclusive development would be the key factors in lifting the economic face of the nation. “I believe we can sustain peace and stability in the country only with rapid and inclusive development. We will do our best to ensure security and peaceful environment in the country,” he said.