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Fresh FDI summit on the cards, past lessons ignored

The April 2024 summit will be the third of its kind in nine years

Fresh FDI summit on the cards, past lessons ignored

The government has decided to conduct an investment summit on 22-23 April 2024, the third of its kind in nine years.

Finance Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat gave this information during a meeting in the Capital on Sunday, which decided to step up preparations for the summit by formulating an immediate plan.

Mahat said the summit aims to float proposals to competent investors soliciting foreign direct investment (FDI) commitments and making sure that the commitments come to fruition. 

Mahat pledged a safe and secure environment for the investors. 

At the meeting, Tourism Minister Sudan Kirati stressed the need to improve the working style and come up with more investment-friendly laws for attracting FDI. Minister Kirati expressed confidence that geopolitical interests will also bring in FDI.

Governor Maha Prasad Adhikari suggested that all seven provinces organize pre-summits (for selection of projects) without further delay, giving local communities a platform to float their investment ideas and projects. 

“Based on experiences, I must say that time for organizing the investment summit (in April) is very short. Most of the projects under consideration for investment are from the energy sector. Studies covering other areas are few and far between,” Adhikari said. Organizing the (investment) summit will be costly, but there’s no question of backtracking from it, he said. 

Ram Kumar Phuyal, a member of the National Planning Commission, stressed the need for a thorough review of earlier summits, pointing that the commission had studied them.

Some of the speakers noted that past investment summits were not that successful, stressing the need to prioritize Nepal’s requirements, protect the interest of investors and provide them facilities as stipulated in relevant laws. 

The first investment summit was held in 2015 after the Gorkha earthquake, followed by the second one in 2019. Despite these summits, FDI flow to Nepal remains dismal even after changes in legal and institutional frameworks to make them more FDI-friendly.