Officials call for investment in the tech sector in Nepal at a London conference

investment in the tech sector in Nepal

LONDON: Nepali officials and tech entrepreneurs have called upon leading global companies to invest in the tech sector in Nepal.

Addressing a session under the auspices of the ‘Nepal Impact Investment Conference’ organised by the Nepali embassy in London on Tuesday, the founder and CEO of Genese Solution, a UK-based IT consulting company, Anjani Phuyal, said that 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 highlighted that the IT industry accounted for 1.4% of Nepal’s GDP and5.5% of foreign exchange reserves in 2022.

“We can easily scale this share with the right investment and policies. Nepal’s geographic location is quite important. We are strategically placed. Nepal can be the regional headquarters of big multinational tech 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 allowed 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 a progressive legal and infrastructure framework, offers a skilled workforce, and there is an advantage of time zones also,” he said.

Phuyal said that the government of Nepal should emulate policies of the UK, India, Israel and Singapore governments, for example, to develop the country as an emerging tech hub.

He also called upon the government of Nepal to adopt the Cloud First policy, reduce the minimum FDI threshold, promote ICT education in collaboration with AWS and Microsoft Academy and introduce policies like e-residency. “Global investors can begin to create a connected Nepali workforce,” he remarked.

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, intending 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 reforming existing laws and regulations to facilitate foreign direct investment in the IT sector.

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 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 resources in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, and cloud computing. “The 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.

Joint Secretary of 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 the IT sector, even Rs 20 million is a bit high,” said Aryal, adding, “Retaining intellectual talents in Nepal is a major challenge.”

Earlier, addressing the investment summit, Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat shared that the government of Nepal was pursuing open, liberal and market-oriented policies.

“The budget has announced a second generation of economic reforms to increase productivity, continue instant 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, and the insurance sector, as well as officials and private sector leaders from Nepal.

Fiscal Nepal |
Wednesday November 1, 2023, 05:46:27 PM |

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