First Business News Portal in English from Nepal
KATHMANDU: Experts have said that the nature and priority of the infrastructure required for development has changed. In the ‘Infrastructure for Growth – The Big Picture Post-Covid Scenario’ session of the Nepal Infrastructure Conference 2022 organized by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and the Confederation of Nepali Industry on Thursday, experts said that there has been a difference in the priority of infrastructure in the changing environment and the investment demand for it.
They are of the opinion that due to the covid-19 pandemic, there is a need to reconsider the existing infrastructure, the model adopted in the construction of such infrastructure, and participation. Experts say that climate change, social welfare, long-term goals of infrastructure that will benefit all, and changes in nature will demand more investment.
They insist that the participation of the private sector in the construction of public infrastructure is necessary at a time when the limited government resources are becoming insufficient to fulfill the mandatory obligations of the state. For this, they emphasized that the regulatory system to be created by the government, and the creation of an environment that fosters the trust of the private sector are necessary.
Although infrastructure is the first condition to make the economy dynamic, extensive study and research, target setting, risks and benefits should be kept in mind. Swarnim Wagle said.
He says that there is a need now to avoid building opaque infrastructure based on government whims. He emphasized that Nepal should take steps to build future-oriented infrastructure.
Nepal has not done enough work from the first to the third industrial revolution. Although many countries of the world have benefited from every industrial revolution, Nepal has not been able to benefit from it. The current fourth industrial revolution, which is the emergence of AI, information technology, machine learning, requires attention to such digital infrastructure, he said.
The Asian Development Bank has estimated that countries in the Asian region lost more than 1.7 trillion US dollars during the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the damage caused by the pandemic on the one hand, and the pressure to invest in modern infrastructure on the other hand, the need for private sector participation in infrastructure construction is increasing. ADB Vice President Ashok Lavasa said that the participation of the private sector in infrastructure construction is increasing in the Asian region.
During the Covid-19 pandemic period, the public debt of Nepal is increasing due to the decrease in revenue on the one hand and on the other hand due to the expenses incurred by the government to control the epidemic. This is why Nepal should involve the private sector in infrastructure construction, he said.
The investment in infrastructure is huge, Radhesh Pant, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Investment Board Nepal, said that the risk of this would also be high, but on the contrary, every project would become politicized. We all agree that private investment is needed. But with the kind of politicization that takes place here, this mindset needs to change,” said Pant.
Nirvana Chaudhary, vice president of CNI, said that rather than lack of resources and private sector’s reluctance to invest in infrastructure, it is the government policies and regulations that are hindering it. He says that many infrastructure projects have been affected due to the lack of predictable policies.
“Even though Public Private Partnership model is good for building infrastructure, it has not been successful in Nepa,” Yuvraj Khatiwada said. He claims that this model has not been successful in Nepal for two reasons. First of all, honesty is required as well as partnership, which should be equal on both sides. But this is not happening in Nepal. Another is that many of our laws are not up to date,” he said. Khatiwada says that although there have been many legal reforms to attract investment, there are still many things that need to be improved.
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