New Delhi: Nepal has the potential of generating 83,000 MW of electricity and wants to see Indian companies playing a major role in hydro-power generation, said Mr Madhav Kumar Nepal, Secretary General, CPN (UML) and former Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal, at a meeting organized by the CII in the capital on 7 June 2007. He said that Nepal has the second largest capacity of hydro-power in the world and India can look forward to business opportunities in this sector.
Nepal is also seeking investment in infrastructure for development of roadways, airports and cable cars, Mr Nepal said. Nepal is focusing on development of tourism, hydro-power projects, agriculture, education and healthcare and considers India as its natural ally. It also has opportunities in tea and coffee plantation, which has not been, explored much, he said. ”Nepal will create a single window policy for all the investment and business purposes”, he added.
Nepal has been facing insurgency for the last 14 years and the government is aware of the grievances from the business community relating to unstable economic condition. The continuous political and economic unrest has led to unemployment and loss of confidence among investors . ‘We hope that once we achieve political stability, we will have economic harmony,’ he added.
A large number of Indian companies like ITC, Ashok Leyland, CK Birla, Dabur India, Tata Motors, PTC India, GMR, Reliance Energy, Krishna Hydoprojects, Wartsila, Asian Paints and National Mission on Bamboo Applications have shown interest in Nepal and were present in the CII function. The corporates raised the issue of discriminatory government policy and also pointed out that some of the disturbances were targeted towards Indians.
Mr Bharat Mohan Adhikari, Deputy Leader, Parliamentary Party, CPN (UML) responded by saying that the Nepal government would like to invite FDI and is committed to bringing stability in the country. He complimented the CII for its work with Nepal and in facilitating trade and bi-lateral relations.
Mr Adhikari mentioned that Nepal government is willing to discuss investment issues with Indian companies. He said that Nepal can offer opportunity in hydro-power, infrastructure and tourism sectors. He assured the industry delegates that Nepal government will look into the issue of discrimination raised by them.
Welcoming the Nepal delegation, Mr Subodh Bhargava, past President, CII and Chairman, VSNL hoped that the new regime in Nepal in its journey towards democracy will bring economic stability. He said that Nepal can play an important role in the economy of region and the open border policy shows India’s acceptance and willingness to have a strong bilateral relations with Nepal. Mr. Bhargava said that industry in Nepal is looking for quality products and services in the competitive market.
During 2004-05, Indo-Nepal trade significantly increased to $ 1.8 billion since the signing of the Trade Treaty in 1996 and renewed this year. India accounts for one-fifth of Nepal’s foreign trade. Indian investment in Nepal has increased significantly; Indian joint ventures now account for over 35% of FDI in Nepal, mainly in telecom, food processing, tourism, cosmetics and medicines. The largest number of tourists visiting Nepal via air are from India. Nepal enjoys free market access to India.
Mr Bhargava said that Indian telecom companies have recently invested Rs100 crore in Nepal.