US Ambassador to Nepal Scott DeLisi said that Nepal requires host-country ownership, leadership, commitment to policy reform, and ultimately private sector-led investment for the sustainable development of the country.
Speaking at a programme entitled “Nepali Economy – Challenges and Potential” organised by Nepal Economic Forum on Wednesday in the capital, DeLisi expressed his confidence that the country will emerge stronger, more stable and ultimately more prosperous with the political development in the country.
On the occasion, DeLisi underscored three major challenges of Nepal - Integrating into the world economy, attracting foreign investment and changing the business culture.
Saying that to integrate in the world economy is important and also most complicated. Delisi said that no country can grow its economy in isolation so to build the economy Nepal must compete in the region and the world, looking for new markets and new opportunities.
“Building economic partnerships with India and China – and other countries around the world – requires Nepalis to think and act logically, not Emotionally,” said DeLisi.
He also expressed disappointment over the criticism Prime Minister Bhattarai faced for signing a Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPPA) with India, saying that BIPPA will only help Nepal attract much needed investment and open up opportunities for Nepali businesses in India.
DeLisi also said that Nepal must carefully think about its competitive advantage in today’s globalized economy as it is unlikely to be competitive in large-scale garment manufacturing, regardless of the tariff benefits offered. Nepalis must be creative and identify new markets, new niches, and new opportunities, he added.
“The legal system must work better and more efficiently, not only for victims of crime, but also victims of contract fraud and intellectual property theft,” said DeLisi, adding that investors want the courts to rule promptly and fairly based on laws and precedent, not personal predilections or kickbacks.
“Investors however need more than words. Words are easy. But progress requires action as well as words. Investors want security, they want attractive returns, and they want to be able to get their money out. Investors look for stability and predictability in economic policy and regulatory decision-making,” he said.
“When investors go to a ministry for a decision, they expect clear guidance and consistent policies – not shifting rules and constant rotations in civil service personnel,” he added.
He also urged the government to ease the visa process registration for a new company along with renewing yearly visas for the investors.
Similarly, DeLisi also said that the business should be competitive by hiring professional managers and transparent accounting systems with skills and creativity to change the business culture.
Highlighting Labour issue as one of the challenge in Nepal, DeLisi opined that labour unions should promote the interests of workers rather than for political causes and individual leaders.
“The stability of the domestic labour market is a crucial factor for potential investors deciding whether to come to Nepal,” he added. nepalnews.com