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  Foreign investment worth Rs 515 billion pledged in energy sector

KATHMANDU, Jan 20: Foreign investors have pledged an investment of Rs 515 billion in projects related to the hydropower and energy sector. But the stakeholders have failed to bring in the investment as pledged by foreign investors.

There is a provision that a foreign company or investor who wants to invest in Nepal can bring investment only after getting approval from the office of the Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) and the Department of Industry. Although investors show commitment to invest, the problem of not being able to bring in the investment still persists.

The IBN has approved foreign investment for seven hydropower projects from FY 2013/14 to FY 2020/21. According to the board, it has sanctioned US dollar 1,600 million for the West Seti Hydroelectric Project.

The Board's office has approved UDS 35.75 million for the 50 MW Upper Marsyangdi Hydropower Project and USD 103.4 million for the 50 MW Marsyangdi Besi Hydropower Project. However, the amount to be invested by foreign investors and Nepali investors in these projects has not been allocated.

The IBN has approved an investment of USD 647.4 million for the 216 MW Upper Trishuli 1 Hydropower Project, USD 51.92 million for the 42.9 MW Ankhukhola Hydropower Project, USD 230.96 million for the 164 MW Kaligandaki Gorge Hydropower Project and USD 647.16 million for 347 MW Upper Marsyangdi 2 Hydropower Project.

Similarly, the 900 MW Arun III Hydropower Project is under construction with foreign investment. The Upper Karnali Hydropower Project is also being prepared to be constructed by an Indian company, GMR.

A total of USD 3,316.59 million--Rs 387 billion--has been invested for seven hydropower projects in a period of seven years. The rate has been calculated as per Tuesday’s Nepali exchange rate. Joint Secretary at the IBN, Dharmendra Kumar Mishra said that the board has approved investment in 13 hydropower projects from FY 2013/14 to the current fiscal year.

“Foreign investors have been involved in seven out of 13 hydropower projects in a period of seven years,” he said. “Even if the investment is approved, the NRB keeps a record of whether the investment has been brought or not.”

Mishra said that the IBN has been approving investment only in hydropower projects above 200 MW or projects costing more than Rs 6 billion. “The board has been approving investments only in projects that fall within its jurisdiction,” he said.

Ganesh Karki, vice chairman of Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal (IPPAN), an organization of independent energy producers, said that foreign investors will not be able to bring investment in Nepal for a long time even if they get approval for investment in hydropower projects. “Foreign investors have only shown dreams of building the project,” he said, adding that they have not been able to bring investment as promised.

[Jan 20, 2021 / myrepublica.nagariknetwork.com]   
 
 
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