KATHMANDU – Minister for Communications and Information Technology Rekha Sharma today informed that the limit of foreign investment in information technology related industry has been removed from the current fiscal year, 2023/24.
The government has prioritised the development of the communications and information technology sector, she said while speaking at a programme with the theme of ‘Growth of Information Technology in Nepal’ organised here by the Institute for Integrated Development Studies.
“It has been announced through the budget for the current fiscal year to allow the industries operating with the aim of exporting information technology services to set up contact offices in the third countries, and provide the foreign exchange facility up to 10 percent of the foreign exchange earnings for an industry to purchase software and programmes and install equipment,” she said.
The government has taken a policy of spending minimum one percent amount of the total capital budget in research, start-ups and invention, she said, adding that there is a provision of preparing the national portal so as to provide accessible information, and adopting the flexible labour policy for start-ups.
Similarly, a provision has been managed for providing 50 percent discounts on tax on the incomes received in the foreign currencies by exporting computer related services like business process out sourcing, software programming, and cloud computing, she said.
The Communications and Information Technology Minister said the government expects this to encourage Nepali human resources in the information technology sector earning foreign currencies from home, and contribute to building digital economy in the country.
As the Minister said, preparations are on to implement training for Bachelor degree graduates in Information Technology. The objective behind this initiative is to align IT programmes within the country with the requirements of the global market. The government aims to offer a concise yet comprehensive IT training programme.
Minister Sharma added that the government has recently introduced a scholarship scheme in Master’s degree, M. Phil. and Ph.D. in IT and it aims to promote the IT education and enhance capacities of IT graduates.
“The government prioritises the formulation of required policies and laws related to IT sector,” the Minister said, adding, “The Cyber Security Policy will be endorsed by the Council of Ministers soon and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is working to prepare other required laws.”
The IT sector in Nepal has been recognized as a critical foundation for agriculture, hydropower, tourism, and the overall economy, according to the Minister who went to say the government wished to see a shift from exporting workers to exporting services from Nepal. “To achieve this objective, the government acknowledges the IT sector as an area of national priority and it plans to introduce new programmes and revise existing ones to further develop and strengthen the IT industry.”
At the programme, Nepal Rastra Bank governor Maha Prasad Adhikari said Nepal poses a high potentiality for IT development. He said IT graduates from Nepal are capable to compete not only in domestic market but also in the international markets.
Pokhara University vice chancellor Prem Narayan Aryal said the University adopted latest innovations in IT and played a role in the production of skilled IT graduates.