Kathmandu, March 18 - Minister for Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada today urged the private sector of SAARC member states to invest in Nepal and made a commitment that the government of Nepal will adopt all means possible to facilitate businesses in the country.

Addressing a plenary session at the sixth SAARC Business Leaders’ Conclave that ended in the Capital today, Minister Khatiwada said that with the latest political development and achievements in Nepal, the entire country today has been focusing on business growth and investments and making Nepal an investment-friendly nation.

“The government of Nepal is ready to accept all logical agendas of the private sector and solve hassles that investors have been facing in land acquisition process and bureaucratic procedural hurdles. The government is also ready to discuss with the private sector regarding tax regimes and other investment and capital market policies,” said Khatiwada.

Informing that tourism, hydropower and agriculture are among the highly potential sectors for investment in the country, Khatiwada urged both domestic and foreign private sectors to approach the government with proper business and development agendas. He also vowed to partner with the private sector to drive the country’s economic growth and overall development process.

The finance minister also mentioned that private sector should drive infrastructural development process of Nepal and the entire South Asian region as poor infrastructure and connectivity have become the major bottleneck for economic integration among member states of SAARC.

“While other regions have advanced a lot in terms of economic growth and development, economic integration in South Asia has been restricted due to weak infrastructure and connectivity. Poor infrastructure development in the SAARC region has also hindered effective bilateral trade and movement of people in the region,” Khatiwada highlighted.

There is a need of collaboration between governments of SAARC member states and find private sector strategic partners to lead the entire infrastructure development process in the region, as per Khatiwada.

Addressing a session on role of the private sector, Phub Tshering, general secretary of Bhutan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that all SAARC member states should together identify common difficulties that businesses and investments in the region are facing and try resolving them gradually by working together with governments.

However, Shekhar Golchha, senior vice-president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, charged that member states of SAARC are more inclined to ‘self-preserving politics’ and are prioritising regional benefits. Golchha urged SAARC governments to make their policies and decisions on trade and business more regional friendly.

Different business leaders of SAARC nations had gathered in the Capital to participate in the three-day business conclave organised with an objective to promote investment, innovation and entrepreneurship in the SAARC region.

Source: The Himalayan Times

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