The government has not been able to propose projects over two months after the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) urged Nepal to propose projects whose detailed study has been completed. The government has failed to propose projects due to lack of preparations even as the AIIB established under leadership of China wants to invest in Nepal.

    Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel while addressing the AIIB’s governors meeting held two months back had urged it to invest in infrastructure development. The AIIB had taken Nepal’s request to invest in development of hydropower generation and transmission, and transportation sectors positively. President of AIIB Jin Liqun had said investment will be made from 2016 if Nepal were to propose implementable projects with prior preparations. But the government has not even decided on the kinds of projects to propose until now.

    The National Planning Commission (NPC) has made no preparations for the projects to be proposed to AIIB. “The projects fit for mobilizing AIIB investment have not been prepared in Nepal. The problem has arisen due to lack of our practice to prepare projects,” NPC Vice chairman Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada said. “We will now have to prepare a few projects to bring AIIB’s investment. We will propose airport, fast track and a few big hydropower projects after making preliminary preparations,” he added. He revealed that proposal could not be made now as projects are implemented only in name now.

    Chief of the Infrastructure Development Division at the NPC and Joint Secretary Gopi Nath Mainali said no instruction has been received to identify and prepare projects. Nepal has practice of preparing for the project only after agreement with donors. He added that the government does not have many projects to propose to the donors apart from around 2,000 bridges required in the roads across the country.

    Chief of the International Economic Cooperation Coordination Division under the Finance Ministry and Joint Secretary Baikuntha Aryal said ministries have already been instructed to prepare for projects. Spokesperson at the Physical Infrastructure and Transport Ministry and Joint Secretary Devendra Karki, however, claimed that the Finance Ministry has not given instruction to prepare projects to propose to AIIB until now.

    “Finance Minister had asked us to recommend a few projects that can be proposed for investment before going to address the inaugural session of AIIB. The ministry had recommended a few roads connecting to the north with completed study and not many problems, and a few other roads. We have no information about whether investment has arrived for those projects or not, and about the process of identifying projects after that,” he added.

    He also revealed that the ministry had proposed Dharan-Chatara, Kimathanka, Rasuwagadi and Tatopani roads with grounds to bring AIIB’s investment before the recent China visit of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

    Minister Poudel while addressing the governors meeting had said Nepal wants appropriate participation and representation in the new institution as a least developed country (LDC). Informing about implementation of different domestic and international goals in Nepal, he had hoped for meaningful contribution to AIIB toward achieving those goals.

    But he has not taken initiative to attract investment in Nepal’s development as per his proposal and AIIB’s urging after returning back from the meeting. His private secretariat refused to provide access to the minister while trying to know about the issue.

    China has established AIIB to challenge the America dominated World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) dominated by China’s bitter rival Japan.

    Source : Karobar Daily