Malaysia has submitted a proposal to undertake the construction of a new international airport in Nepal.
The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to South Asia Datuk Seri Dr S Samy Vellu said the Malaysian parties are still awaiting a formal response from the Nepalese authorities, before starting detailed negotiations.
“I visited Nepal about two months ago and conveyed then, a message to Nepal’s Prime Minister, of our intention to take up the airport project. The government later agreed to our request and we submitted a proposal,” he told reporters after the Nepal Investment Summit 2015 on Tuesday.
Apart from the airport, Samy Vellu said Malaysia is also interested in undertaking various highway projects planned by the Nepalese government.
“The present high growth rate in construction and infrastructure development in Malaysia shows that local industry players are exposed to projects with varying complexities and able to perform well in the global arena,” he added.
He said Nepal’s strategic location of being between the two emerging economic giants of the world, China in the North and India in the South, East and West, is fertile for investments.
Having said that, he urged Malaysian firms to leverage on this unparalleled platform to bridge their connection with Nepalese peers and be the first to expand the footprint in the Nepalese infrastructure sector.
“I mentioned to Nepal’s Prime Minister that with proper planning of good road, airports and other infrastructure, we can together make the country a little Switzerland of the east,” added Samy Vellu.
Meanwhile, Nepal’s Minister of Urban Development of Nepal Dr Narayan Khadka said Malaysian investors had been active in Nepal in roughly 30 projects, and covered all sectors.
He expressed the hope for more Malaysian Foreign Direct Investment in the coming days.
Narayan said Nepal needs investments in physical infrastructure to reach the developing country status by 2022, and needs to invest a minimum 30 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in fixed capital formation.
“This number has hovered around the low twenties in the last three years, and to bridge this gap, an additional NPR 160 billion must be invested in this fiscal year.
“The government budget for capital expenditure this year is NPR 116 billion, an increase of more than NPR 30 billion when compared to previously.
“This clearly emphasises the need for private investments in physical infrastructure,” he added.
He said traditionally, most infrastructure projects in Nepal had been funded by the government, in coordination with multilateral and bilateral agencies.
“Today, we believe that managerial, financial and technical capabilities of the private sector, when utilised in large scale infrastructure project execution, lead to efficient completion of projects and rapid economic development,” added Narayan. – Bernama