Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on Tuesday said that after its political transformation, socio-economic transformation is top priority and the country was keen to benefit from India's tremendous progress.
"Nepal has undergone political transformation of historic proportion in recent years. Now socio-economic transformation is our topmost priority. If not backed by economic transformation, political transformation cannot be sustainable," Bhandari said at an event here organised by industry chambers CII, Ficci and Assocham.
"For Nepal, India remains the largest trading partner... We are closely engaged in Saarc, BIMSTEC and BBIN and these regional and sub-regional platforms could be made more effective in delivering results," she said.
Emphasising that Nepal treats the private sector as a partner for development, Bhandari pointed out that Nepal has opened up almost every sector for foreign investment, including manufacturing, hydropower, tourism, services, mining and agro-based industries.
"The government is committed to creating a climate conducive to investment... the administrative procedures have been streamlined and made business-friendly.
"No discrimination is made between Nepali and Indian investors. Numerous similarities make us natural partners. BIPPA (Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement) with India is under consideration for ratification while the double taxation avoidance agreement has already been signed," the Nepali President said.
She said that incentives for investment in Nepal are no less attractive than those in many other countries.
"Ours is a virgin land for investment and any area is profitable. Importantly, location of Nepal in the middle of two thriving economies of the world offers greater advantages to potential investors," she said.
"We have a policy of public private partnership for economic development. We have established Investment Board of Nepal to provide big investors one door service. The availability of abundant labour force and improved industrial relations guaranteed by labour laws have made investment climate attractive," she added.
She said that her country faces several challenges and its utilisation of resources has been "way below the mark".
She said that the abundance of water resources in her country has tremendous potential of utilisation.
"We can put our efforts together to harness these resources for mutual benefit. Capitalising on this potential we can lead in the sector of cleaner technology and greener growth," the President observed.
She said that her country cannot afford to remain a backward economy when its neighbours make "incredible progress" in every sphere.
Inviting the Indian businesses to invest in her country, Bhandari said a prosperous Nepal will also be "in the interest of our neighbourhood and beyond".
The Nepal President arrived here on Monday on a five-day visit to India at the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee.
This is Bhandari's maiden foreign tour after assuming office in October 2015.
She is accompanied by a 33-member delegation that includes Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat and Peace and Reconstruction Minister Sita Devi Yadav, five women MPs and senior officials.
She will also visit Gujarat and Odisha before returning to Kathmandu on Friday.
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