April 25th, 2014 saw an econ-ity event on proposed Foreign Investment Policy, organized jointly with FNCCI at Hotel Himalaya, Lalitpur. The event was moderated by Dr. Biswambher Pyakuryal, Professor of Economics, TU. Mr. Krishna Gyanwali, Secretary, Ministry of Industry was also present to discuss and collect the opinions of the participants.
There were a number of concerns that came up during the discussion. Some of them were as follows:
1) The issue of minimum thresholds was discussed at length as a negative factor that discourages smaller scale investment (especially those kind that are predominantly coming into IT and tourism industry of Nepal)
2) The institutional structure proposed by the policy was commented as being complex and adding on to the bureaucratic hurdles in getting FI.
3) The negative list was commented upon as having sectors which could benefit from open competition and foreign investment including retail and real estate business.
4) The minimum requirements placed on a sector specific basis were questioned as the rationale behind such a policy could not be clearly understood.
5) Small and cottage industries also argued that they could benefit through small scale foreign investment and technology transfer that comes through foreign investment.
6) Serious concern was raised over the ‘Nationalization Clause’ present by the current draft.
Overall the participants expressed concerns over the current draft’s concentration on big industries and investments alone.