I feel privileged to have been entrusted with the responsibility of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Office of the Investment Board, Nepal.
Investment Board of Nepal (IBN), established in 2011 through a special charter, is a Special Purpose Entity, Chaired by the Right Honorable Prime Minister. IBN is committed to providing facilitation as a one-stop-shop; particularly for the foreign investors. During its initial stages, it is working to develop basic foundation for its smooth operation. At the same time, it has come across several challenges while entering into the Project Development Agreements (PDAs) for mega hydro projects and their implementation is a formidable task for IBN leadership. The lesson learned & the experience gained by the IBN and its officials during this process has further raised confidence on IBN’s future endeavors.
I had the opportunity to observe the IBN performance and mull over strategies to develop it as a sustainable development agency. Immediate efforts need to focus on coordination, consultation, effective administration, liaison, optimum utilization of resources, governance, sustainability, transparency and accountability.
Historically and geographically Nepal has been fortunate enough to have India and China as her immediate neighbors. Nepal can best utilize its strategic location between these two largest & fastest growing economies of the world. We just need right approach and policies to harness the benefits. A recent World Bank report has highlighted infrastructure deficit worth 13 – 18 Billion USD for Nepal to graduate to a developing country status by 2022. The current trend of capital investment is not very much promising.
Nepal promises tremendous investment potential; particularly in Hydropower, Tourism, Agriculture, Transportation, Manufacturing and Services. Despite having lots of opportunities along with liberal policies, it has not been able to attract the attention of many potential investors. Realizing the importance of big push investment, the government of Nepal created the Investment Board as a one-stop shop for mega infrastructure projects.
In order to secure regular inflows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), we are working on Policy gap identifications, Risk assessment and Restructuring of functional structure of IBN. IBN has completed two PDA till now. Based on the progress so far, projects are in comfortable position on seeking finance and they are making significant progress on the way to financial closure. It has proved that that Nepal government is able to execute the PDAs that is internationally bankable, which is one of the notable achievements.
To attract foreign investors, IBN is also working on Project Bank. Once a reasonable number of projects are on hands, the list of projects will be published for investors. IBN is also working on its standard operating procedure for smooth functioning of its projects.
As the CEO, my duty is to facilitate investors for rapid economic prosperity of the country. To meet the goal, IBN can help promote "Invest Nepal" as a brand in national and international forums. Let us join hands for economically prosperous and healthy Nepal!