December 28, 2015 Sujeev Shakya

What Does $ 1.4 Billion Telecom Deal Means For Nepal

Axiata, a Malaysian listed Telecom Company with operations in many Asian countries bought majority stake in TeliaSonera marking the biggest corporate deal in Nepali history. TeliaSonera operates telecom services under the brand name NCell. The deal during the most turbulent years for the Nepali economy does provide an indication that there is global interest in the right sector if investments come with the right price tag. This deal basically will also be a litmus test for the Nepali government that have successively being more inward looking and anti-reform. Here are some key issues that international investors will be looking forward as the approval processes move in Nepal:

1. How quick will Department of Industries (DOI) ensure the paperwork will be done as DOI is more seen as following a one-window multiple door policy.

2. How quick will Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), Nepal’s Central Bank that is becoming more rigid in exchange controls grant approvals. NRB is now seen as more difficult place to get approvals than DOI.

3. How will the Nepal’s trading community dominated private sector react? Nepal’s foreign investment has been impacted more by cartel/syndicates in garb of associations ganging up against entry of foreign firms rather than the government.

4. How will the political parties and their government facilitate this process as there are more allegations on them creating impediments for gains rather than helping foreign investors.

Nepal has an opportunity to tell the whole world that it means business by facilitating approval processes and ensuring that more international investors get attracted in every sector. Hope this will be turning point for Nepal in 2016 for the better.

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