IBN to table airport, West Seti proposals

investment-board-of-nepalKATHMANDU, MAR 29 – Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) will be tabling Chinese proposals on West Seti Hydropower Project, and construction of Second International Airport in Nijgadh and upgradation of Tribhuvan International Airport on its board meeting scheduled for Sunday.

CWE Investment Company, a subsidiary of China Three Gorges, has forwarded a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposal worth $1.5 billion to the IBN to develop 750MW storage-type project. Once the FDI is approved, the Chinese company will register a company here and move forward with further works at project site.

IBN CEO Radhes Pant said that the proposal to award the contract of the airport projects to a single company was considered to develop the SIA through a public-private partnership model.

“We cannot attract investors in the SIA until Fast Track Project is not built,” he said. “This project is not going to be profitable for the next 20–25 years for the investors as long as there is a competing airport in Kathmandu . So it makes sense to allot both the projects to a single company so that it would generate cash flow from the TIA operations and invest that in the SIA.

The other reason behind bundling these two projects, according to Pant, is that two different operators will not be interested in competing for travelers. He expects the next board meeting would endorse both proposals.

The government has decided to implement the SIA under partnership between the Tourism Ministry and the IBN, with the ministry playing the leadership role. The IBN is hopeful that the West Seti Project would move ahead as there has been a strong commitment from the Chinese company. “A recent visit of China Three Gorges Corporation (CTGC) Chairman Lu Chun to Nepal, the developer of the reservoir type project itself, shows the genunie commitment of Chinese developer,” said Pant.

Lu had met with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat and Energy Minister Radha Gyawali, along with officials from the Energy Ministry and the IBN during his recent Nepal visit.

“The Chinese side wants to start works on the project before monsoon, including tasks like drilling and conduct geological and hydrological studies,” Pant said. CWE had signed the MoU with IBN in August 2012.

Source : eKantipur