Finance Minister Pun, World Bank vice-chairpersons hold virtual meeting

KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Barshaman Pun and three vice-chairpersons of the World Bank held discussions about mega infrastructure projects of Nepal.

Finance Minister Pun had a meeting with three vice-chairpersons of the World Bank, Martin Raiser, Akihiko Nishio and Guangzhe Chen, Finance Minister Pun’s Secretariat confirmed.

Asian Development Bank Country Director for Nepal Arnaud Cauchois and representatives of the International Finance Corporation were also present on the occasion.

Likewise, Finance Secretary Krishna Hari Pushkar, Revenue Secretary Dr Ram Prasad Ghimire, Joint-Secretaries, Uttar Kumar Khatry, Ritesh Kumar Shakya and Shreekrishna Nepal and Executive Director of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Kulman Ghising were also present in the meeting.

The meeting discussed the development of a partnership framework between Nepal and the World Bank for next five years and taking forward the Upper Arun Hydropower Project and Dudhkoshi Reservoir Project, according to the Finance Minister’s Secretariat.

Discussions were held on the 1,061 MW semi-reservoir Upper Arun Hydropower Project to be constructed in Bhotkhola Rural Municipality of Sankhuwasabha as a transformative project.

The project construction will be carried out through a subsidiary company of the NEA with WB’s soft loan and a mixed investment from the Citizen Investment Trust, various domestic banks and the general public.

It may be noted that NEA has established Upper Arun Hydropower Limited for the construction of the project. The detailed project report (DPR) has been prepared and the consultant has also been selected. The WB-led financial management for the project is expected to be finalized by mid-July.

The project has been designed to run at full capacity for six hours a day in winter. The estimated cost of the project will be around Rs 161 billion (1.38 billion US Dollars).

Seventy percent of the total cost will be foreign investment and 30 percent domestic. The project is expected to generate 4.53 billion units of energy annually. Similarly, there is a plan to construct a reservoir on Dudhkoshi River to generate 635 MW of hydropower at Lamidanda of Rawabensi rural municipality-3 of Khotang and Ramuwaghat of Chisankhugadhi rural municipality-6 of Okhaldhunga.

In the virtual meeting, Finance Minister Pun thanked the World Bank for its contribution to Nepal’s economic development as one of the largest international development partners. The development projects have been carried out in Nepal with WB investment in transport, urban development, agriculture, forestry, environment, employment and other infrastructure sectors, he said, noting progress of these projects was not satisfactory due to various reasons.

Finance Minister Pun, however, said he was committed to speeding up the works of these projects. Finance Minister Pun said Nepal has embraced the concept of green, resilient inclusive development.

He urged the WB to promote green finance in infrastructure projects. The WB’s vice-presidents and other office-bearers said the cooperation with Nepal was encouraging and expressed their views on the projects in the pipeline, including the Upper Arun Hydropower Project.

Noting Nepal’s credit risk is low compared to other countries run by the International Development Association (IDA), they urged Nepal to enjoy non-concessional loans.

Minister Pun said that a huge resource gap has been created in the implementation of sustainable development goals, infrastructure and climate adaptation due to financial constraints due to laxity in revenue mobilization.

He opined that the development partners should enhance cooperation and cooperation with Nepal and support the efforts for economic revival.

 

 

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