Doha Bank has officially opened its Nepal Representative Office, highlighted by a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in the presence of key dignitaries and guests attending the inauguration rites.
Qatar’s ambassador to Nepal Yousuf bin Mohamed al-Hail, Nepal’s ambassador to Qatar Ramesh Prasad Koirala, Nepal Rastra Bank deputy governor Chintamani Siwakoti, Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh, and Tourism and Cultural ambassador for Nepal and former Indian MP Dr Jayaprada were among the VIPs that graced the occasion.
The inauguration ceremony also featured a knowledge-sharing session, which carried the theme ‘Qatar-Nepal Bilateral Opportunities’. Attending the event were Dr Chiranjivi Nepal, governor, Nepal Rastra Bank; Shiva Raj Shrestha, deputy governor, Nepal Rastra Bank; Manjeev Singh Puri, the ambassador of India to Nepal; and other dignitaries.
During the session, Dr Chiranjivi Nepal, governor, Nepal Rastra Bank, said: “The representative office of Qatar’s prestigious bank will be the catalyst to greater Qatar-Nepal bilateral co-operation and help us to mature the Nepalese financial system.
“As per policy of the government of Nepal, the country will continue to have greater trade and investment liberalisation. To facilitate this flow of funds for financing greater trade and investment liberalisation, Nepal Rastra Bank will contribute to ensure financial and payment stability with cognizant of AML/CFT issues.”
In his keynote address, Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman said: “Qatar is expected to grow by 2.7% in 2018 and 2.8% in 2019. In December 2018, S&P Global Ratings announced that it has revised its outlook on Qatar to stable from negative. It stated that Qatar has effectively managed the ongoing boycott’s impact on diplomatic ties and trade and transport links.
“Earlier this year, Qatar’s long-term issuer ratings have been changed from negative to stable by Moody’s Investors Service, which affirmed the long-term issuer and foreign-currency senior unsecured debt ratings at Aa3. Fitch has also revised Qatari sovereign’s outlook to stable from negative and affirmation of the country’s long-term IDR at 'AA-.”
Seetharaman also spoke on the reforms implemented in Qatar, such as the New Investment Law, permanent residency, food security, the Metro Rail project, and key developments, including the Qatar Sovereign Bond issuance.
“According to the IMF’s October 2018 Outlook, Nepal’s economy is expected to grow by 5% in 2019. The main sector of the economy is agriculture, which employs over 70% of the population and accounts for 33% of GDP.
“As Nepal is home to the highest mountains in the world, tourism has been steadily growing in importance and is an important source of revenue,” Seetharaman also pointed out.
On Qatar-Nepal bilateral relationship, Seetharaman said trade volume between both countries stood at QR15mn in 2017.
“Trade relations between both countries have been growing continuously, as Nepal’s primary exports to Qatar include garments, textiles, magnetic cylinders, vegetables, and others, while Nepal imports polyethylene, polypropylene, and some food products from Qatar,” Seetharaman said.
On Doha Bank’s role in Nepal, Seetharaman said: “We will facilitate remittances to Nepal from Qatar based on tie ups with local banks in Nepal. Primary business activities of the Nepal Representative Office would be supporting local banks in international trade business, bilateral lending, and conduct other treasury businesses with local banks in Nepal.
“Doha Bank has three full-fledged branch operations in India. We have already facilitated trade businesses and remittance services between Nepal and India through our branch network. With the commencement of Nepal office, we have established relationship with 15 Nepalese banks that shows our commitment to this network.”