Private sector urges government to utilise BIMSTEC for economic prosperity
The private sector has said that the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) has to be exploited as it could become a harbinger of development for Nepal.
Linking South Asia to South East Asia, the BIMSTEC could be a bridge to bring investment and technology for Nepal's economic development through mutual cooperation, they said, here today.
Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) president Narendra Kumar Basnyat said Nepal should emphasise on tracing path of economic development from both SAARC and BIMSTEC. "Nepal can attract investment from them in the areas of comparative advantage like tourism, hydro power, and agriculture," he said, suggesting the government to make economic diplomacy more effective to attract them.
Likewise, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) senior vice president Pradip Junga Pandey was of the opinion that the government should strengthen regional cooperation to bring investment in the country in priority sectors.
"Nepal can benefit from Thai investment, if only it promotes religious tourism in Thailand and Myanmar – both the Buddhist countries – as BIMSTEC is a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia," he added.
BIMSTEC has focused on 14 sectors including trade and investment, technology, energy, transport, communication, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, anti-terrorism, international crime control, environment conservation, disaster management, public health, poverty alleviation, climate change and people to people contact and various facets of development and of common concern.
Each of the member countries have been looking into a sector in the sub-regional grouping. Nepal has been given responsibility on poverty alleviation.
Bangladesh on trade and investment, India transport and travel, Myanmar energy and agriculture, Sri Lanka technology, Thailand fisheries and Bhutan cultural issues.
BIMSTEC has recently divided trade and investment in two – trade of goods and services – and further divided into eight sub groups. Thailand's proposal of establishing BIMSTEC free trade area could be implemented by 2018 as the member countries have been consulting seriously.
Likewise, Asian Development Bank (ADB) – that has been working as a development partner of the grouping linking South Asia and South East Asia since 2005 – has presented a report on transport infrastructure among member countries.
Nepal became full member of BIMSTEC – that includes India, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh of SAARC and south east Asian countries Myanmar and Thailand of ASEAN – in 2004, though the sub regional grouping was established in 1997.