Nepal needs an injection of fresh money so that we can improve economic activity and pave the way for an improved GDP. After the recession caused by the disastrous EQ in 2015, the pandemic, and endless scandals of high-level corruption by politicians and
Remittances from foreign employment do not create new jobs in the country. Expenditure on consumables, fixed assets and real estate is not considered a productive investment. We also need innovative processes and great work culture to shift into a trading culture. Selective boutique businesses and IT outsourcing startups starve to get business oxygen in the form of investment. Foreign direct investment seems more valuable here because of new money and innovative approaches to improve the business management system it brings along.
The Government of Nepal has reduced the FDI threshold from NPR 5 crore to NPR 2 crore, facilitating the establishment of small businesses in the service industry and tourism sector. Individually affluent citizens of high GDP countries and financially successful NRNs can act as great catalysts to translate dreams into reality for innovative business minds anxiously waiting for access to funds.
Traditionally, Indian citizens invest in Nepal, recently, China has also shown eagerness to invest in Nepal. The survey has shown that there has been a positive increase in FDI in Nepal and there should be a significant increase in FDI now. It is seen that Nepali business groups and government policymakers should be open to meeting the need of bringing investment from several countries by investing the majority of FDI already made successful. We need several mutual success stories to get better traction.
Unless we have an abundance of new money and some successful new businesses, the importance of FDI is becoming increasingly difficult to understand. Even industries and businesses that have no control over the increasing cost of business including increasing bank interest rates are likely to be at the edge of bankruptcy. Increment in production costs directly translates into more pressure on quality and a decline in competitive advantage.
Almost every business summit ends with a big commitment of FDI but has not yet translated into reality. We have to get to the root cause and remove the obstacles in policy or bureaucracy or red tape, or it will be too late for us to get connected with global prosperity and align.
Both our weaknesses and opportunities for FDI are in the same context. Poor competitiveness is due to poor infrastructure development and lack of investment. Therefore, investment opportunities are also around these two needs.
By encouraging FDI to invest in creating competitive manpower and constructing good physical infrastructure, mature business models are more likely to develop than after. It can be believed that foreign investors will also facilitate the search for export opportunities.
Investment in tourism and hydroelectricity is a long-terming opportunity in Nepal, and its relevance is ever-increasing. We have identified one more opportunity to add to this medical tourism in the wonderful heavenly climate of Nepal. Compassionate care from our trained nurses, at amazing low fees, is the biggest asset to succeed.
We now already have a large motivated youth population with a lot of interest and knowledge in AI and computer technology. Creating high-paying jobs locally, which is still a cost-effective outsourcing choice for American, Australian and European companies, opens a wider scope for us to bring a good sum of NEW MONEY, and helps bring in new skill home as well.
Since Nepal has passed the LDC, the patent royalty lift will be imposed within 4 years, making pharmaceutical products more expensive. FDI in the pharmaceutical industry, which has the highest return on investment, is seen to have a dramatic impact on the lives of the Nepali people. We should make our utmost try to bring in some Giant Pharma companies to set up production sites in Nepal as a joint venture, which makes our drug availability smoother and keeps us in a relatively comfortable status in terms of medical emergency preparedness. Enhanced Quality and reliable research and development are the country's dire needs in pharma industries.
Nepal's Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act prohibits FDI in poultry farming, fish farming, beekeeping, fruits, vegetables, oilseeds, pulses, milk industry and other sectors of primary agricultural production.
The government policy of restricting FDI has protected only a very limited and small agricultural sector. However, Nepal needs to take some more critical steps to attract and facilitate reliable and impactful FDI, some of which may be listed below, that may create milestones in attracting Quality FDI:
~Our strong commitment to open markets and our reputation as an easy-to-do-business country. One of the best measures would be to protect intellectual property rights and ban reverse engineering.
~ It will be a big win for us to give investors a better experience in the journey of FDI through an investment facilitation agency that adopts a single-door modern digitalized paperless process.
~ This body should carry well-researched data and communicate the type of listed opportunities/businesses to allow to take up on a first-come-first-serve basis. The basis of national priorities should be identified so that investments do not fall into the wrong business under any circumstances.
~ Diaspora members can play an important role in attracting more FDI from their host countries.
~The customer-supplier ecosystem between foreign investors and local suppliers should be established on a very careful and trustworthy basis. Nepali banks should restructure their services in a business and project-friendly manner. Gradually, the ecosystem thus established enables the local industry to become scalable.
~ Physical connectivity plays a decisive role in a successful enterprise, the government of Nepal should invest a sufficient budget to create surface linkages with both domestic and neighbouring countries.
With the arrival of new money, it is necessary to put our preparation and perception in the right place to bring good results, otherwise, Nepal may become a dirty money laundering country, the most unfortunate thing to happen. Impunity in financial abuse at any level in all sectors is the biggest enemy of sustainable and reliable economic prosperity.
Constant political strife and governance without stability cannot bring the new money we desire into our economy. I also want to appeal, especially to Nepali नेता to stop the strangulation of सम्बृद्धी of the nation because of their mere self-centred political move.