Former Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ was the chief guest of the award ceremony where former finance minister Ram Saran Mahat, Surendra Pandey, Matrika Yadav, minister of industries of GON, and Sasank Koirala, Minister of Nepali Congress made their remarks in the areas of governance, corruption, innovation, and government policies relevant for promoting economic growth and prosperity. The award ceremony was held to evaluate and recognize the role of executives who have played an instrumental role to contribute to society via their institutions. Padma Media Group employed a team of impartial jury that leads the selection process with the promise to continue this in the near future. Kulman Ghising, managing director of NEA, won three awards in category of CEO of the Year, Popular CEO of the Year and CEO of the Year [Public Sector]. Birendra Basnet won the CEO of the Year [Private] Sector], whereas Women CEO of the Year went to Ambika Shrestha [Dwarika Hotel], the Young CEO of the Year was won by Asgar Ali, [e-sewa],CEO of the Year [SME] was won by Ram Kali Khadka and Jury Choice Award was won by Dr. Sanduk Ruit [Tilganga Hospital]. Former Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ was the chief guest of the award ceremony. His succinct closing remarks stated that “We have worked hard to change the landscape of politics. Now we need to harness innovation, creation, dynamism to change the economic landscape of our country.”
Nepal CEO Summit and Awards- 2018
Dambar Shahu, Executive Director, Padma Media Group
Highlight of the Speech and Panel Discussions
Raju Prasad Kandel, Chairman, Padma Media Group
Vice President, Rajendra Malla, Nepal Chambers of Commerce [NCC]
When it comes to CEO success, understanding of international practice, team building and leadership are its key elements. How can the CEO network be expanded to federal region? How can we compete with neighboring countries in terms of production? How can the government support in these areas? How can government best use the unused land under its ownership? President of NCC highlighted the speculation in land price, which has made it almost difficult to develop industries. There is a need to regulate land transaction.
Speech by Special Guest: Former Health Minister & Parliamentarian, Gagan Thapa
Speech by Special Guest, Toursim Minister Rabindra Adhikari
Chief Guest: Former Prime Minister and Founder Naya Sakti Nepal, Baburam Bhattarai
Panel I: Federalism, Prosperity, and Economic Policymaking, Opportunities and Challenges [Moderator: Prateek Pradhan, Editor in Chief - Baarkharai]
Former Rt. Honorable Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai
Prosperity is a relative term. Historically sustenance farming to maintain livelihood in many part of Nepal was prosperity. Now in 21st century, the definition of prosperity has changed. Now we need to add sustainability as well as spiritual satisfaction in the improvement in standards of living. There is a need to have a new revolution in cultural and socio economic base. I am arguing for a need of a proportional representative parliament and a directly elected President so we can clearly separate legislative body and executive leadership. We need a strong and independent judiciary. We are moving from agro to modern economic framework. I urge the CEOs to follow the rule of law, focus on improving production, pay tax and curb corruption.
Former Health Minister, Gagan Thapa
We have weakened the institutions of Nepal such as police, university, and others. In such culture of institutional weakness, bestowing power to one directly elected executive may be farfetched. This new opportunity should motivate political leadership to work towards institutional strengthening. Now the excuse of monarchy, stability, constitution, and federalism cannot be a reason to hold us back. We are all working on the framework of liberal democracy, so focus of Nepali congress is to play a constructive role within the parliament. I urge the CEOs to find solutions within the existing complex problems pertaining as hurdles for the development of Nepal. Such attitude will create leaders within the CEOs. Furthermore, this will help in strengthening of democracy and a successful CEO and company will be vital for election campaign and political financing.
Tourism Minister Rabindra Adhikari
We have a two third majority in the parliament. Me, Gagan ji and PM Bhattarai advocated directly elected Prime Minister for Nepal. Through we have lost the opportunity to go in this direction; we still have a majority government. What a directly elected executive can deliver, same possibility is present now for the new government. We can make Nepali happy through not only prosperity but also from justice. Now next five years is very important and challenging for us, as we need to deliver on our manifesto. The top political leadership should exercise vision to specify its role on where it will directly execute policies and where it will enable policy as well as regulatory framework to help the CEOs. We want to provide good governance and improve on the capacity of our institutions both private and public sectors. I urge the CEO to execute business responsibility with good intent and honesty.
Panel Summary: Moderator, Pratik Pradhan, Editor In Chief, Bhaarkharai
The panel discussed the opportunities and challenges that will build economic agenda for economic cooperation and prosperity under the new structure of Nepal. Moderator posed questions related to the need of directly elected president, recent election results, aspiration of Nepalese for economic growth and the role of politicians and CEOs to usher prosperity in the new federal structure along with policy reform and challenges. In summary of the panel, Mr. Pradhan highlighted the need for good governance in the new federal structure, needs for institutional building and strengthening from the government side. He also concluded the need for CEOs to do business responsibly with public good in mind. Intent and honesty being an important factor for social progress, he urged politicians to embrace these values and cooperate to develop the country and deliver on the promise of prosperity.
Panel 2: Economic Agenda: Economic Prosperity in the New Federal Structure of Nepal [Moderator: Anil Chitrakar, President Siddhartha Inc.]
Dr. Shanker Sharma [Former Ambassador for Nepal to US, Former Chairman of National Planning Commission
Recently, there is lot of energy at local and federal level. Intra competition between local bodies as well as federal region has begun to emerge in Nepal. This is a positive sign. Government will have a key role to play in economic growth. Indecision within the government is a key problem; hence, online governance for small medium enterprise is very helpful. Certain industries and amount of business ownership can be facilitated via online document provision. Federal Government should facilitate business registration mechanism and simplify them. Infrastructure, issues with Kolkata Port, non tariff barriers and ineffective bureaucracy affect economic prosperity. Vietnam issues provincial competitiveness index. This mechanism will begin in Nepal. Estimated 60-70 million dollars of IT outsourcing business is happening in Nepal. Nepal has talent in the computer science. Agriculture growth has been about 6% in Nepal and herbal growth is about 60%. These opportunities are growth areas which can be further improved. I see more opportunities in federalism though bureaucratic system, laws, and money will feature as challenges in the execution of the new system.
Dr. Suresh Raj Sharma [Educationist, Founder and Former Vice Chancellor of Kathmandu University]
Management science says if you want to improve a system that is not working, give it a competitor. Competition is not within our country but we need to prepare for global competitiveness. We need to execute meritocracy and hunt for talents. There will be a competition between municipality as well as province. We may have done business on patronage and commission; however, we need to promote competition within businesses to promote innovation. We had challenges related to energy and electricity. Now hydropower is moving forward which could immensely help production. Our service industry such as tourism and IT are getting better, hence, we need to focus on creating human capital in this area to further improve our service capacity. Banking sector has been instrumental in capital flow. Since we have political stability, unionism can be addressed by new government which ensures security for private sector. We may have a difficult time in hi-tech industry, however, agriculture and forestry could be immensely important for economic growth. The demand of paper is increasing, however, we are closing down the industry. We need to train youth and make them ready for job market and the new prospectus of economic growth. Skills-training program needs to be prioritized. Knowledge and skill domain – key aspect of education, have to be improved. Skills impact readily saleable job prospectus, hence, skill development is important. The role of CEO is very important in terms of providing quality goods and services. We produce goods and service where qualities are compromised. We need to center quality and base our services and goods based on this core value.
Mr. Suraj Vaidya: President of the SAARC Chamber Commerce and Industry, Chairman of Vaidya’s Organization]
Private sector has been instrumental in the areas of air industry, media, banking, garment industry and education within Nepal. Politicians may not have given enough credit for the risk private sector has taken within this economy. The new parliament has to work on industrial and company act. The government should give us infrastructure and environment. Private sector can deliver on the rest in this time of political stability. Private sector is not very sure about how provincial governance can impact the business. State needs lot of money to set up government in the provincial government. Will that money come from taxation or other means is an important question for private sector. The final challenge is ‘Sheep-Syndrome’ where people are stuck within the box and replicating rather than innovating. India has moved from snake charmers to mouse charmers, post embracing technology and skill education in IT sector. The opportunities are open all over Nepal. Let’s have or develop the courage to grab them.
Dr. Dipendra Bahadur Chetri [Former Vice-Chairman of National Planning Commission, Former Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank]
If you embrace challenges and take a stance, private sector can deliver on economic growth in the new system of governance. We have about 4.1 million people working abroad. We export cheap labor; however, here we are lacking good labors for our own production. We need to improve our values on honesty, hard work and work ethic culture to improve our economic growth. In the last 10 years, telecom has improved significantly. Hence, branchless banking and cashless society can develop. Risk taking abilities needs be appreciated and rewarded. We are responsible for our own destiny. Let us move ahead with a sense of collective prosperity and harmony to usher economic growth in Nepal.
Panel Summary: Anil Chitrakar, President Siddhartha Inc.
The panel discussed the opportunities and challenges that will build economic agenda for economic cooperation and prosperity under the new structure of Nepal. Moderator posed question related to variables for enabling environments for prosperity, good practices of economic development and opportunities and challenges in federalism. Moderator Mr. Chitrakar summarized saying, enabling environment from government along with private sector vigor can develop Nepal. There are innumerable challenges in the new federal structure such as financing the structure, legal barriers; however, those challenges can be met with cooperation between private and public sectors. Intra and inter federal competition for finance, policy, business can improve the competitiveness of Nepal, however, the play book has to be fair for all. He closed the panel urging Nepal to move ahead with positivity, hope and courage to get these things done for bringing prosperity to the country.
Panel 3: Role & Responsibility of Apex Business, Trade & Investment Bodies in times of Economic Transition of Nepal [Moderator: Rupesh Krishna Shrestha, Kathmandu University School of Management]
Mr. Hari Bhakta Sharma – President, Confederation of Nepalese Industries [CNI]
In the provincial level there are ample opportunities, however, government should focus in three areas of reform – 1. Acts, regulations and laws governing Nepal needs to be updated. 2. We need environment where one can completely focus on his/her business. Right now half of business time goes towards developing the environment. The culture of entrepreneurships should take off. In terms of South Asia, we perform low in terms of business performance. We need to overturn this and in next 10 years, we can change the economic face of Nepal. 3. Skill education – We should prioritize college and university development which can create human capital needed for economic growth.
Our country is excessively depended imports. Our Chief Minister should clearly lay out benefits for investors and decentralization of industrial development should be a priority at the center level. The students who are studying abroad as well as ones in Nepal should be provided with means of employment opportunity. We need to turn our control oriented system to facilitation/regulation oriented system. Though last 10 years were the most difficult times in years, there was invested even in those uncertain times. Now we have stability and certainty. Hence, this needs to be felt in the grassroots and villages where industry can be set. We need to work closely with the government for enabling policies.
Dr. Upendra Mahato – Businessman and Former President NRNA Nepal
A CEO’s job for me means challenge ending into opportunity. In today’s age, we need to embrace branding and networking to share experience, achievements and knowledge. This will help improve enabling environment. Government should regulate quality. If quality is monitored we can regulated numbers. However, if our government regulates number, quality will be compromised. In 1982 we used to export food, people from Bihar used to come to Nepal and work in agriculture. Now things are reversed. We export labor and import food. We need to end the culture of policy misinterpretation within the bureaucracy that creates hurdle from business. Hydropower, Agriculture, Health, Education and Tourism can help improve the economy of the country. Our heart is dedicated to duty, service and hospitality. We need to take that attitude within our heart and turn that into genuine world class service. Foreign investors seem to always identify challenges in Nepal in international forum, however, we request them to discuss opportunities and perks they receive while doing business in Nepal. We need to be proud of the opportunities we have in Nepal and engage and collaborate collectively to ensure prosperity by promoting self employment.
Mr. Pradeep Kumar Shrestha – Managing Director – Panchakanya Group and Vice President, Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry [CACCI]
In Nepal we have moved from traditional license raj, getting license as a key challenge to recent running and managing the business being a key challenge. Nepal is in the process of stabilization and business environment is looking good. Now we have a stable government, it is time to observe the quality of the governance. We need to identify and cash in on our comparative advantage. The federal province will appeal for investment; hence, we need to focus on specialty and identify areas where one can cash. In the two wheel of cart – Political and Economic Wheel, Nepal has mostly moved its political wheel. We need to move both the wheel simultaneously for a smooth ride. We need to orchestrate the knowledge, innovation and creativity of youth to ensure improved business environment. Let us improve on the value of our passport and identity though improvement in our economy and politics. Lets us make a happy and prosperous Nepal.
Panel Summary by Moderation Mr. Rupak Kumar Shrestha, Kathmandu University
The panel discussed the role of business federations, chambers of commerce and investment boards representing national business and NRNs to help create commonality of interests, facilitate, champion and support investment, business transformation and growth. Moderator Ms. Shrestha, summarized the panel urging the need from government to cut bureaucratic red tapes, and bring about business enabling legal reforms at province and state government. He also highlighted the need for private sector to focus on quality and comparative advantage of Nepal to increase output.
Panel 4: Why Invest in Nepal [Moderator: Mr. Zaffar Naik – Founder –First Avocado]
Mr. Puneet Varshney – Managing Director of Bottlers Nepal Pvt ltd
We have been in Nepal for more than 40 years. We bring in our global best practices in Nepal. Our standards comply and meet with local laws and often they may be higher than what local law demands. We are more interested to building our business more aggressively now. We have two plants in Nepal. We have also invested in coolers, IT system, and people. Running business is about managing the risks. We have not seen policy deviation post frequent government change. If policy of certainty is ushered via political stability, it will create environment for business development. Tax laws, 10 years planning all affect business model. Stability if continues the existing policy or improves it to facilitate further business can then create environment for business growth. We need speed in responsiveness of government. Our context is not local but also global as I compete for investment with other CEOs of Coca Cola to move the funds here to Nepal.
Mr. Michael Kobold – CEO, Kobold Watch
With regards of putting Nepal on the map in terms of positivity, it is quite difficult to create good kind of publicity in Nepal. With so much negative news it is very hard to sell Nepal in the global forum. What keeps people from coming to Nepal for investment is the fact that there is a huge perceived risk which is higher in Nepal than other places. Where Nepal can improve its image is engaging famous people who are already in love with Nepal or could fall in Nepal. Leo Depacrio loves Nepal. Hence, working with such famous celebrities including Lady Gaga, making them do stunt such as driving fire extinguishing vehicle i.e ‘Barun Yantra’ and broadcasting in social media could boost the image of Nepal. So we need to appeal the broad range of celebrities to help create positive propaganda for Nepal. This could help develop potential consumers of Nepal. If we can create consumers of products and services being developed in Nepal as such, this is the message Nepal needs. We ought to create a positive message of Nepal so we can help improve foreign direct investment in Nepal.
Mr. Satish Kumar More – Chairman, Lucky Group
We have established Shivam Cement. We have joint venture experience with the Chinese company. Since the new government is focused in economic agenda, there is a commitment for economic drive. In 4 to 5 months we will be self –sustainable in cement. We have foreign multinationals hotel brands coming to Nepal. Now the country should design priority sectors for business so we can improve on balance of payment. Government of Nepal should reinforce time bound contract enforcement within infrastructure. In 1996 we had a treaty with India that allows many goods manufactured in Nepal to have tariff free access in Indian market. Furthermore, we need to reform our holidays.
Mr. Maha Prasad Adhikari – CEO, Nepal Investment Board of Nepal [IBN]
Investment board was designed to promote mega investment i.e. above 100 million dollars within Nepal. We need to reform industrial act, foreign technology and transfer act, EIA process & its approval, forest clearance etc. The country risk which is attributed by political stability is a key impediment; infrastructure and other hurdles are improving. The industrial dispute has significantly reduced; load shedding has been addressed, and EIA process for national priority project has been reduced to 40 days from previous three years. One stop service is important for FDI, hence, IBN is working on internal reforms to develop world class one stop service. Last year in 2017 we receive highest FDI. This year within six months we have surpassed last year investments. So things are getting better for Nepal.
Mr. Mike Bolsover – Managing Director and CEO, Silver Heritage Limited.
We look at Nepal holistically. There is a huge potential in Nepal. We have worked extensively in developing markets particularly in the border areas. We have opportunity to develop secondary tourism areas. We are anticipating growth from China, India, and Thailand, in Lumbini. We are quite keen to take advantage of the fact we have a stable government. One of the most important issues for us is the –One Stop Shop, through which we could access the bureaucracy and politics. Dispute resolution and support from local banks is very important. We hire more than 1000 Nepalese and pay almost 4 million dollars as salary. Earthquake, blockade, and specific skilled foreign labors to hotel building were a challenge. We brought several stuff from Sri Lanka, New Zealand, so logistics was quite challenging.
Panel Summary by Moderator Mr. Zaffar Naik, Founder, First Avocado
The panel discussed the way forward to transforming the country’s investment climate in the current challenging climate of Nepal’s political and economic structure. The panel also discussed the possible ways of overcoming hurdles of bureaucracy, labour unions, under developed infrastructure, lack of skilled manpower, and clear economic policies even if it points to the positive that still make Nepal an investment destination. The moderator summarized highlighting the need for policy consistency in Nepal required for long term planning, positive coverage of Nepal in the world, celebrity engagement for investment promotion, supply chain efficiency and smooth logistics, skills transfer as key elements to improve investment climate in Nepal.
Panel 5: Impact CEO’s: What sets them apart? [Moderator: Ms. Charu Chadha –Editor and Chief, Business 360 (Media 9)
Mr Shishir Khanal – Co-Founder and CEO Teach for Nepal
In the rural area, getting a quality education is a key. 90% of children in rural area fail to complete basic education in Nepal. For economic growth, human capital remains the key. Hence, working towards human capital development was a key for me. We are serving about 8000 children in the country.
Mr. Manish Jha – Managing Director, FACTS Nepal
Facts was started 2012. In Nepal decision are made often in haphazard manner. To make a sound decision you need authority and information. Providing factual information for important decision is important and that is where facts plays a role. We compile data, and analyze them to support better decision making. Our countries research budget is estimated at 0.8 percent which is very low. Budget allocation has to prioritize innovation in its R&D budget allocation.
Mr. Saurabh Jyoti – Director of Jyoti Group and Chairman Syakar Company
Jyoti group is almost 55 years old. We have evolved significantly within more than six decades. We are evaluating where business will move in the next two decades. We are still investing in traditional business; however, we are also looking for new innovative business as we are focusing on the digital economy. We are focusing on human capital development with right skills development. Out of 8 ventures I have started, many have failed. You learn from failure and you move on. One of the complex tasks is the perception management of public and government sector. Due credit and focus of policy to help private sector may not be consistent. Policy certainty is another issue.
Mr. Nirvan Chaudhary – Managing Director – Chaudhary Group
My focus is on creating wealth and giving it back to the society. Balancing time, balancing priorities is very important for business leadership. I have been working in Nepal since 2000. I am a firm believer of the potential this country holds. When you get the foreign investors into Nepal and engaging them in Nepal becomes a very complex task. Impact investment is the requirement of today’s business. In Jumla we worked for porridge factory set up to address mal nutrition. We have promoted skill training for tourism and development of eco-friendly lodge.
Mr. Anukool Bhatnagar – Managing Director –Nepal SBI Bank
We are catering to more than 8 lakhs people in Nepal. We conduct audit regularly and update KYC. We believe in open office. We have mentorship, coaching, and skill development training for our employees. Our workforce average age is 26 and almost 30% of our human resource is women. We are into fashion shows and toast masters. We have a digital village near Sakhu. We supply all 477 households with solar light, internet, and improve hygiene in the village. About 100 crore of deprived sector lending has been provided in the areas. We have financed development of robot such as pari with the help of student from Pulchowk Campus. We will also bring virtual banking very soon.
Panel Summary by Ms. Charu Chadha –Editor and Chief, Business 360 (Media 9)
The panel discussed on why focusing on impact is more important than focusing solely on income and how it leads to greater success and outcome. The panel also discussed though process and innovative approaches to impact creation and highlighted the role of impact creation as a future for business and work. Ms. Chadha summarized stating impact businesses focus on the need for skill generation and education improvement, factual information based decision making, policy certainty towards impactful business development, digitalized service and impactful corporate social responsibility.
Raju Prasad Kandel, Chairman, Padma Media Group highlighted the variables pertaining to prosperity. He mentioned Padma media group work to facilitate an environment of collaboration between political and economic actors. “We have begun the award ceremony to evaluate and recognize the role of executives who have played an instrumental role to contribute to society via their institutions. We have a team of impartial jury that leads the selection process. We hope to continue this in the near future” stated Mr. Kandel the chairman of the Padma Media Group. President of CNI, Hari Bhakta Sharma, highlighted the need for Nepal to move from being a begging bowl economy to a giving economy within the next 10 years. He said we need to export scientist, lawyers, experts, and entrepreneurs in the next 10 years. For this vision to materialize, a strong guardianship from the government is mandatory.
Women CEO of the Year
Women CEO of the Year – Ambika Shrestha [Dwarika Hotel] [Award Received by Grandson Mr. Shrestha]
The Young CEO of the Year
The Young CEO of the Year – Asgar Ali, [e-sewa]
CEO of the Year [SME]
CEO of the Year [SME] – Ram Kali Khadka
CEO of the Year [Private Sector]
CEO of the Year [Private Sector] – Birendra Bahadur Basnet [Buddha Air]
Jury Choice Award
Jury Choice Award – Dr. Sanduk Ruit
CEO of the Year [Public Sector]
CEO of the Year [Public Sector] – Kul Man Ghising [NEA]
Popular CEO of the Year
Popular CEO of the Year – Kul Man Ghising [NEA]
CEO of the Year
CEO of the Year – Kul Man Ghising [NEA]