Nepal was ranked 94 out of 190 economies on the Doing Business 2020 ranking marking a significant shift for the country into the top 100 economies on the ease of doing business. As a part of the government’s ongoing efforts to improve the country’s investment climate reforms, the Office of the Prime Minister & Council of Ministers (OPMCM) and Ministry of Finance with the support of the World Bank Group organized a workshop to develop institutional arrangements for the newly formed Coordination Centre in OPMCM and put together an implementation plan for Doing Business reforms.
“A new Nepal is in the making. We are a private sector dominated economy, and the role of the public sector is to unlock bottlenecks for the private sector. Public private partnership is the key strategy for doing business in Nepal,” stated Honorable Minister of Finance, Dr. Yuba Raj Khatiwada.
“The international best practices that we are learning today need to be customized based on the context of Nepal,” stated Dr. Teertha Raj Dhakal, Secretary, OPMCM. “Implementation and delivery are the areas where the country needs to improve, and we also need to change our behavior and culture to make Nepal more private-sector friendly.”
The workshop organized on 24-25 February looked at global best practices from leading Delivery Unit practitioners from PEMANDU Associates, Malaysia and Government Partnerships International, UK on the catalytical role of the Delivery Unit in supporting the Doing Business reforms.
“We need to encourage private sector participation in all sectors,” stated Dato’ Sri Idris Jala, President and CEO of PEMANDU Associates. “This can only happen if we implement radical changes in government regulations to facilitate investors and eliminate cumbersome procedures involved in doing businesses in the country.”
Nepal climbed 16 spots in the global Doing Business 2020 rankings. Four major positive reforms in a single year – construction permits, access to credit, trading across borders and contract enforcement – were a record for Nepal and accounted for a third of all reforms recorded by Doing Business in the last 10 years. At the same time, two reforms that made it difficult to do business – starting a business and property registration – were also recorded for Nepal.
The major outcomes of the workshop included the development of the Coordination Center’s institutional structure based on the global best practices of international delivery unit practitioners tailored to the Nepali context, and agreement with the core Ministries and private sector on the short (until April 2020 – the closing window for Doing Business 2021 report), medium (next 15 months) and long-term (next 2 years) investment climate reforms and implementation strategies. These initiatives are intended to mobilize increased private investment in support of equitable growth and job creation.
“The Government of Nepal is playing a critical role in establishing a conducive climate in which businesses operate and is taking the needed steps to strengthen the environment for private sector businesses and investments,” stated Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Manager for Nepal. “The experience of the international experts from Malaysia and UK provides a springboard for Nepal’s next steps. Their success stories and lessons learnt can help inform the design of appropriate institutional structures and operational framework for the Coordination Center.”
The workshop was actively attended by representatives from the government, regulatory bodies, private sector and development partners.