Laxmi Capital News
IBN counters budgetary provision on West Seti project

Investment Board Nepal(IBN) has said that it was holding deliberations with China Three GorgesCorporation (CTGC) regarding the financial viability of the West SetiHydropower Project (750 MW).

Issuinga statement on Wednesday, IBN said that a study committee, formed by its 29thBoard Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli as per CTCG’s requestfor some clarity on financial viability of the project, has already submittedits report and that the report is under consideration. “No decision has beentaken on the matter,” IBN said in the statement.

Thestatement came as a response to the government’s announcement to build thereservoir project by mobilizing internal resources. It hints that twogovernment bodies -- Ministry of Finance and IBN -- are at the loggerheads overdevelopment of West Seti which is viewed as one of the lucrative projects forthe country. 

IBN CEOMaha Prasad Adhikari, however, denied any conflict between the two governmentagencies. “We only wanted to share facts about the project. The mattersincluded in budget speech is a policy issue,” he said, adding that IBN was fortaking deliberations with the Chinese company to a logical conclusion beforemaking further decision about the project. 

In arecent interview, Minister for Energy Barsha Man Pun stated that discussions tobuilt West Seti jointly with TGIC were underway.

Talkingto media persons after tabling the budget in the parliament last week, Ministerfor Finance Minster Yuba Raj Khatiwada said the government had put the ready toimplement project in its priority and will begin construction soon. 

Respondingto a question why the government has changed its stand on the project which isunder discussion with the Chinese developer, Khatiwada indicated thatgovernment has picked West Seti project as an alternative to BudhigandakiHydropower Project (1,200 MW).

Theerstwhile government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba had terminated the contract toaward Budhigandaki to a Chinese company and decided to develop the project onits own.

“Wewon’t be throwing ball at each other like in tennis regarding this project(Budhigandaki) anymore,” Khatiwada had said, indicating that the government haschanged its mind about developing the project which is said to be crucial forthe country’s energy security.

Thisshows that the Oli government has changed its opinion on the project despitehis commitment to re-award the project to China Gezhouba Group Corporation(CGGC). 

Earlier,former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, whose party has now merged withCPN-UML to form Nepal Communist Party (NCP), had Budhigandaki to the Chinesecompany in haste. Te decision had drawn flak from all quarters. 

“Wewill find out a different modality, probably public private partnership (PPP)model, to build Budhigandaki Hydropower Project,” Khatiwada disclosed. 

Thebudget for FY2018/19 has allocated over Rs 17 billion to Budhigandaki project.The amount will be used to provide compensation for land to be acquired by theproject.

Source:MyRepublica, 7th June 2018

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