London: Nepali officials and tech entrepreneurs have called upon leading global companies to invest in the tech sector in Nepal.
Addressing a session organized under the auspices of the ‘Nepal Impact Investment Summit’ organized by the Nepali embassy in Lonon on Tuesday, Joint Secretary at the Investment Board Nepal (IBN), Amrit Lamsal, said ICT is one of the potential investment areas in Nepal.
“The government of Nepal has reduced the FDI threshold from Rs 50 million to Rs 20 million. For IT sector, even Rs 20 million is bit high,” said Aryal adding, “Retaining intellectual talents in Nepal is a major challenge.”
Delivering a recorded video message from Kathmandu, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Anil Kumar Dutta, said that the government of Nepal adopted the Digital Nepal Framework in 2019 and was implementing it now with a view to provide transparent and efficient services to the general public.
“The government welcomes investment in the IT sector and we have so many prospects in this area,” he added. He also informed that the government was working on to reform existing laws and regulations so as to facilitate foreign direct investment in the IT sector.
Founder and CEO of Genese Solution, a UK-based digital solution company, Anjani Phuyal, said Nepal has been producing world-class graduates and they are already working for leading global companies in the West.
Citing a recent study conducted by IIDS – a Kathmandu-based think tank, Phuyal said that the IT industry accounted for 1.4 percent of Nepal’s GDP and 5.5 percent of foreign exchange reserves in 2022. “We can easily scale this share with the right investment and right policies. Nepal’s geographic location is quite important. We are strategically placed. Nepal can be the regional headquarter of big IT companies,” he said.
“Nepal has a distinct advantage in terms of global competitiveness due to the establishment of AWS, Microsoft, and Google academies. These academies have made it possible for individuals to attain internationally recognized certifications and develop expertise in these technology platforms. This, in turn, can help Nepal produce a pool of skilled resources that can compete at a global level. Nepal now has progressive legal and infrastructure framework, offers a skilled workforce and there is an advantage of time zones also,” he said.
‘Massive opportunities in IT in Nepal’
Taking part in the panel discussion, Chief Executive Officer of Dolma Impact Fund, Tim Gocher said that the first three industrial revolutions created human inequality. (But) the fourth industrial revolution is different. There is no barrier to entry. That we can see in Nepal. “The biggest sector today is tech. There are massive opportunities for people in Nepal. We have created nearly 10,000 jobs in Nepal out of whom some 7 to 8,000 are in the tech sector,” said Mr Gocher adding, “Infrastructure is already there and many talents are there. The cost of doing business is much lower in Nepal compared to other countries in the region.”
Gocher said that remote working potential is very good in Nepal as there are a lot of highly skilled personnel in Artificial Intelligence (AI), BigData, and cloud computing. “Tech sector is highly beneficial for Nepal in terms of employment, income taxes and corporate taxes. Nepali companies should also be allowed to have a foreign subsidiary,” he added.
Earlier, addressing the investment summit, Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat said the government of Nepal was pursuing open, liberal and market oriented policies. “The budget has announced a second generation of economic reforms with a view to increase productivity, continue institute reforms, develop the digital economy and move towards adopting the fourth industrial revolution,” said Minister Mahat. He urged British companies to come and invest in Nepal, including in the ICT sector, and make use of Nepal’s strategic location.
The summit was attended by representatives of leading British businesses, banks, insurance sector as well as officials and private sector leaders from Nepal.