Investment Summit in A Risky Economy

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Investment Summit in A Risky Economy

--BY MADAN LAMSAL
 
The government is once again going to organise a gathering of investors soon in March-April. Many commitments for investment will be made there. MoUs will be signed for sure. Then what? 
 
Foreign investors will start coming to the country in droves, with briefcases full of cash. Then they will start putting their money in each and every sector. Then we all will get our fair share! And how?
 
In our dreams! Even the investment commitments made at the last investment summit have not been fulfilled. But we mustn’t keep thinking about how new commitments will come. Because we should just keep organising such investment summits, and the investors will automatically come. Organising summits is our job, so let’s just do that. Investing is purely their business. If they don’t invest, then we’ll enforce a new law which will make it mandatory for the participants of the investment summit to invest in the country! We have Mt Everest. Buddha was born here. Does any other country in the world have these? So, aren’t the investors bound to come to Nepal? 
 
So, our job is to organize investment summits; announcements of decisions to invest in Nepal will follow suit! That will be enough for making plans and holding discussions and organising meetings, conferences etc for a year or two. Then, if the people forget about the original investment commitment, we should organize another investment summit! That should take care of everything.
 
And if we really want foreign investment to come, we should issue whimsical statements on the political affairs of any country without considering the time and situation. This will surely draw the attention of the investors from across the globe! To put it into perspective, we should keep the foreign investors ‘busy’ with whatever trivial thing we can come up with. Hearing about this unique experience of investing in Nepal, other investors will come running to Nepal. 
 
We should, if possible, give a foreigner the chance to speak whatever he wants to speak about Nepal, as the Nepali saying goes – Your name should be prominent, no matter how good or bad the name may be. But never let people forget your name! A situation like right now when the country has seemingly become nameless or lost in the oblivion has to be prevented. On the other side of the planet, Trump simply didn’t know the fact that Nepal is an independent country.
 
Therefore, we shouldn’t really care if the money coming as investment is white or black. Similarly, it may come from any island. The point is, the country should keep receiving FDI.  Perhaps, realising this, a senior official of the Investment Board Nepal recently said at a public function – “Nepal is a risky economy. There are companies which can run their businesses in such economies by bearing certain additional costs. We should organise investment summits keeping in mind such companies!” No one knows how to get what you pay for better than the government anyway. It seems the government has got the message. Therefore, the investment jamboree must be organised. Even if this achieves nothing, at least a few dozen MICE tourists will come to the country! 
 
Everyone from the President to Pashupati knows that corruption is rampant in Nepal and that the government employees consider a 10 percent commission in anything as their birth right! The income from politics, too, has been flying abroad. The same money returns to the country as FDI. Everyone gets their share while this happens. Things are alright. No one should try to stop the first-outflow-then-inflow of money. What about declaring those doing so as anti-national?
 
In fact, we don’t need to do anything else to attract foreign investors after we organise the investment summit. For example, we don’t need to create the legal and physical infrastructures needed for attracting FDI. Because the investors will do that themselves! It’s the investors who will make a profit so why should the government build roads linking their projects?
 
The other thing is foreign investors were asked to come here and invest their money. They were not told to take the profit as well as the investment back to their home countries! It seems problems are arising because the foreign investors did not understand this or did not get the message. Those who are willing to invest in a risky economy should know how things work there. Therefore, we should keep reminding the government to organise the investment summit without any delay!
 

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