KATHMANDU, April 26: The government has failed to give the Investment Board -- a high-level agency entrusted the responsibility of carrying out the ambitious plan of attracting foreign investment for mega projects - a complete shape even though less than three months remain for the Investment Year 2012/13 to kick off.
The board even does not have a full-fledged office and adequate human resources to run its daily operations. Furthermore, he government has been failing to approve the Investment Board Regulation (IBR), a prerequisite to implement the Investment Board Act (IBA) 2011.
The delay in approval of the regulations has been reflected in the board´s daily works. The board cannot recruit staffers and expand its areas of operations without approval of the regulations.
The board of the IB, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, appointed Radesh Pant to the post of CEO about six months back. According to Pant, the board immediately needs 4-6 staffers.
The regulation, whose draft was prepared about one and half months ago, has yet to be approved. “The draft has been finalized. I think it will be approved within a week,” Pant said.
Interestingly, Pant had told the same thing to this scribe around three weeks ago. He, however, refrained from making comment when asked what is hindering the approval of the regulation.
Ironically, the board, which has the responsibility of formulating policies to create investment friendly business climate and selecting priority areas for investment, is failing to get its regulations approved by the government.
According to Pant, the board is working on institutional development, project management and investor services, resolving specific investors´ problems and making necessary preparations to start Investment Year from mid-July.
More than a dozen investors from countries like China, Japan, Germany and India have already approached the board in order to know about the prospects of making investment in Nepal.
Officials at the Prime Ministers´ Office say the board must have something in hand like a compilation of projects for which the government is looking for foreign investment. “The office and human resource in the board should be sound, modern and dynamic since this is the first door where all the investors come to knock first,” an official at the Prime Minister´s Office said, preferring anonymity.
The board plans to bring investment worth US$ 1 billion in the first six months of 2012/13.