Cost of hydro projects rises by 25 percent due to rise of dollar

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    ” Majority of projects financially weak “

    KATHMANDU, Sept 18

    Course dollar increaseThe cost of hydropower projects that are under construction and preparing to start construction has increased by up to 25 percent due to depreciation of the Nepali currency in comparison to the US dollar.

    Promoters claim that the rise in price of petroleum products, electro-mechanical and hydro-mechanical equipment, cement, rods and steel that are used in construction will affect the project cost. The US dollar was traded at Rs 100 per unit on Wednesday. It had appreciated to Rs 110 per unit a few days ago. The Nepali rupee has been affected due to the depreciation of the Indian currency with which it is pegged. The returns for the promoters will fall due to the rise in cost while the period for repayment of loans will also extend. Promoters claimed that no project will remain financially viable if the current exchange rate of dollar were to remain. The government provides electricity generation license for 35 years for the projects to be constructed for domestic consumption and 30 years for the export-oriented projects and the promoters have to make profit during this period after clearing the debts.

    “The majority of promoters calculated returns through financial analysis after preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR) when the exchange rate of dollar was Rs 75-80,” Chairman of the Hydropower Committee of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) Gyanendra Lal Pradhan stated. “The returns of the majority of projects that have already signed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will fall due to weakening of the rupee and the projects will become financially unviable,” he reasoned. He claimed that no projects can be constructed if the rupee were to continue to depreciate at the current rate. “The cost will fall by eight percent if the government were to give value-added tax (VAT) waiver in civil construction. The government must give VAT waiver to facilitate construction of projects,” he stated.

    Spokesperson and Joint Secretary at the Energy Ministry Keshav Dhwaj Adhikari also conceded that no projects preparing to start construction will be completed if the Nepali rupee were to continue to fall. “The government knows that the projects are becoming financially unviable. The government has not considered anything to resolve this but will do something in due time,” he added and revealed that VAT waiver and other alternatives will be considered. Executive Director of the Investigation Department of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Dr Min Bahadur Shrestha also conceded that the cost of projects will naturally rise due to depreciation of the Nepali currency. “The Nepali rupee will not rise to the previous exchange rate of Rs 80 per dollar even if the Indian economy were to improve due to rise in export. The exchange rate will hover around Rs 95,” he stated.

    Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Upper Solu Hydroelectric Company, that is developing Solu Hydropower Project (23.50 MW), Shashi Sagar Rajbhandari said the cost of projects will now rise as NEA did not sign PPA in time. “We had completed DPR over two years ago. The project cost will now rise as NEA has yet to sign PPA. We cannot construct the project if the appreciation of dollar were to continue,” he stated. He revealed that returns were calculated through financial analysis when the exchange rate was around Rs 80 per dollar. He said that there is no alternative to returning the project back to the government as there will be no return at the current exchange rate. “We are moving the project forward hoping that the Nepali rupee will strengthen. We cannot construct the project if the exchange rate is higher than Rs 85,” he added and urged that the government to provide VAT waiver in civil construction.

    Source : Karobar Daily

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    ” अधिकांश आयोजना वित्तीय रूपमा कमजोर “

    बाबुराम खड्का
    काठमाडौं, २ भदौ- अमेरिकी डलरसँग नेपाली रुपैयाँ लगातार कमजोर भएपछि निर्माणाधीन र निर्माण तयारीमा रहेका जलविद्युत् आयोजनाको लागत २५ प्रतिशतसम्म बढेको छ । आयोजना निर्माणका लागि आवश्यक पेट्रोलियम पदार्थ, इलेक्ट्रोमेकानिकल, हाइड्रोमेकानिकल उपकरण, सिमेन्ट, डन्डी र स्टिलको भाउ बढ्ने भएपछि यसको असर आयोजनाको लागतमा परेको प्रवद्र्धकहरू बताउँछन् । बुधबार १ डलरबराबर १ सय रुपैयाँमा कारोबार भएको छ । नेपाली रुपैयाँ डलरसँग अवमूल्यन भएर १ बराबर १ सय १० रुपैयाँसम्म पुगेको थियो । भारतीय रुपैयाँ (भारु)सँग नेरुको स्थिर विनिमय दरका कारण भारु अवमूल्यन हुँदा नेपालमा प्रभाव परेको हो ।
    लागत बढ्दा प्रवद्र्धकले पाउने प्रतिफल दर घट्नुका साथै ऋण तिर्ने समय पनि लम्बिने भएको छ । डलरको यही अवस्था कायम रहे कुनै पनि आयोजना आर्थिक रूपमा सम्भाव्य नहुने दाबी प्रवद्र्धकको छ ।
    सरकारले आन्तरिक खपतका लागि बनेका अयोजनालाई ३५ वर्ष र विदेश निकासी प्रयोजनका लागि बन्ने आयोजनालाई ३० वर्षसम्म विद्युत् उत्पादन अनुमतिपत्र (लाइसेन्स) दिने गरेको छ । यो अवधिभित्र प्रवद्र्धकले बैंकको कर्जा चुक्ता गरी नाफा कमाउनुपर्ने हुन्छ ।
    नेपाली रुपैयाँ अवमूल्यनले आयोजनाको लागत बढ्ने नेपाल उद्योग वाणिज्य महासंघअन्तर्गत जलविद्युत् समितिका सभापति तथा ऊर्जाउद्यमी ज्ञानेन्द्रलाल प्रधानले बताए । “अधिकांश प्रवद्र्धकले डलर ७५ देखि ८० रुपैयाँ हुँदा विस्तृत अध्ययन प्रतिवेदन (डीपीआर) तयार गरी वित्तीय विश्लेषणबाट प्रतिफल निर्धारण गरेका छन्,” उनले भने, “रुपैयाँ कमजोर भएपछि विद्युत् प्राधिकरणसँग विद्युत् खरिद सम्झौता (पीपीए) भइसकेका अधिकांश आयोजना प्रतिफल घटेर आर्थिक रूपमा सम्भाव्य नहुने अवस्थामा छन् ।”
    पेट्रोलियम पदार्थका अतिरिक्त स्टिल, हाइड्रोमेकानिकल, इलेक्ट्रोमेकानिकल उपकरणको भाउ बढेपछि आयोजनाको लागत बढ्ने उनले बताए । रुपैयाँ यही गतिमा अवमूल्यन भए कुनै आयोजना नबन्ने उनको भनाइ छ । “सिभिल निर्माणमा भ्याट सहुलियत दिए लागत ८ प्रतिशत घट्नेछ,” उनले भने, “आयोजना निर्माणलाई सहजीकरण गर्ने हो भने भ्याट छुट दिने सरकारी निर्णय कार्यान्वयनमा ल्याउनैपर्छ ।”
    ऊर्जा मन्त्रालयका सहसचिव तथा प्रवक्ता केशवध्वज अधिकारी पनि नेपाली रुपैयाँ अवमूल्यन भइरहे निर्माण तयारीमा रहेका कुनै आयोजना नबन्ने बताउँछन् । “आयोजना आर्थिक रूपमा सम्भाव्य नहुने अवस्थामा पुगेको जानकारी सरकारलाई छ,” उनले भने, “अहिले नै समाधानका लागि सरकारले सोचेको छैन, समय आएपछि केही गर्छ ।” भ्याटमा सहुलियत वा अन्य विकल्पबारे सोचिने उनले बताए ।
    राष्ट्र बैंक अनुसन्धान विभागका कार्यकारी निर्देशक डा. मीनबहादुर श्रेष्ठ नेपाली रुपैयाँको अवमूल्यन हुँदै गएपछि स्वाभाविक रूपमा आयोजनाको लागत बढ्ने बताउँछन् । “निकासी बढेर भारतीय अर्थतन्त्रमा केही सुधार आए पनि पहिलेको अवस्था (८० रुपैयाँ)मा नेपाली रुपैयाँ पुग्दैन,” उनले भने, “अझै ९५ रुपैयाँको हाराहारीमा रहनेछ ।”
    प्राधिकरणले समयमा पीपीए नगरेका कारण आयोजनाको लागत बढ्ने अवस्थामा पुगेको अपरसोलु हाइड्रोइलेक्ट्रिक कम्पनीका प्रमुख कार्यकारी अधिकृत शशीसागर राजभण्डारीले बताए । उनको कम्पनीले सोलु जलविद्युत् आयोजना (२३.५ मेगावाट) बनाउँदैछ । “हामीले आयोजनाको डीपीआर तयार गरेको २ वर्ष बितिसक्यो, तर प्राधिकरणले अहिलेसम्म पीपीए नगर्दा लागत थपिने देखिएको छ,” उनले भने “डलर अधिमूल्यन रोकिएन भने आयोजना बनाउन सकिन्न ।”
    १ डलर बराबर ८० रुपैयाँ हँुदा आयोजनाको वित्तीय विश्लेषण गरी प्रतिफल निर्धारण गरिएको जानकारी उनले दिए । डलर यही अवस्थामा रहे प्रतिफल प्राप्त नहुने भएकाले सरकारलाई नै आयोजना बुझाउनुको विकल्प नरहेको उनले बताए ।
    “नेपाली रुपैयाँ मजबुत हुने आशामा आयोजना अघि बढाइरहेका छौं,” उनले थपे, “८५ रुपैयाँभन्दा बढी भयो भने आयोजना बनाउन सकिन्न ।” सरकारले सिभिल निर्माणमा भ्याट छुट दिनैपर्ने माग उनले गरे ।