Private sector body to campaign for political commitment

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    KATHMANDU, MAR 11 –

    FINCCIThe Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) is beginning a campaign to seek commitment from the major political parties to prioritise sustainable hydropower development in the country.

    Under the campaign beginning on Monday, the apex business body said it will persuade the top leaders of major political parties sign the draft of hydropower development strategy paper. The strategy paper, which delves into establishment of thermal plant as short-term measure, has sought Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA)’s readiness to purchase energy generated by private sector from thermal plant.

    It has also asked the government to sign a power trading agreement (PTA) with India to make things easier for mega projects to export power to the southern neighbour. It has also talked about establishing an independent group responsible for developing the country’s power market.

    The group will consider the roles and the timing of the establishment of National Electricity Regulator, National Power System Operator and Planner, Transmission Development and Management Entity, National Generation Entity and Distribution and Retail Supply Entity.

    The FNCCI had prepared a Hydropower Development Strategy for Nepal a month ago, which it has forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Chief Secretary, Ministries and major political parties .

    The draft strategy is expected to become a basis for the FNCCI to initiate discussions with the political leaders, industries, donor agencies, among others, and reach consensus for the development of the hydropower sector.

    The apex private sector body had also demanded formation of a high-level taskforce to review country’s hydropower development approaches so far and to report it to the prime minister.

    However, after the political parties did not show concern to endorse the paper and forge consensus towards the development of country’s hydropower sector, the FNCCI is planning to meet the individual political leaders.

    Bhaskar Raj Rajkarnikar, senior vice president of the FNCCI, said they would be discussing hydropower development in the federation’s upcoming annual general meet after the political parties endorse the strategy.

    “Besides, our meeting with political leaders will also focus on discussions as regards the country’s political vacuum, economic uncertainty and accessing ways for the country’s economic development in the future,” he said.

    According to Rajkarnikar, the FNCCI will meet President of Nepali Congress Sushil Koirala on Monday. “Accordingly we will meet top leaders of all the other political parties to forge their consensus on hydropower development and minimum economic agenda,” he added.

    Few FNCCI officials however, expressed dissatisfaction over the apex body’s campaign stating that it would merely be a political propaganda in the long run.

    “The campaign is not necessary as political parties have already given their nod to prioritise economic and hydropower sectors even if it is just lip service,” said an executive committee member of the apex business body.

    He also said the FNCCI first need to make sure if it wants to work as a civic organisation or political house or purely business association adding, “Such move will only degrade FNCCI’s image within its own community.”

    Source : The Kathmandu Post