Minister Pun moves to resolve differences with IBN

Energy Ministry and Investment Board Nepal

Mar 29, 2018-

Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun will use his mediation skills to try to resolve a long-standing row between the Energy Ministry and Investment Board Nepal (IBN) over who has the right to implement hydropower projects of 500 MW or more.
Pun spoke with IBN CEO Maha Prasad Adhikari on Tuesday and assured him of providing ample hydropower projects to be executed with private investment.
During the meeting held at the ministry, the two agreed to resolve the dispute between the two government agencies and work together to tap the country’s immense hydropower potential, according to a highly placed source at IBN.
“As per the accord, the Energy Ministry will identify 500 MW-plus projects that need private investment, and send their details to IBN which will execute them by mobilizing private funding,” said the source.
Meanwhile, Energy Ministry sources said they were close to reaching an agreement. “Minister Pun and IBN CEO Adhikari have agreed to end the dispute. We will have a deal after the right to implement 500 MW-plus projects is clarified,” said the ministry source. “Both parties have agreed to hold another round of talks. The Energy Minister is also planning to hold talks with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli over the issue.”
The row between IBN and the ministry flared up recently after the board asked for the original files of all 500 MW-plus hydropower projects currently being monitored by the ministry.
On March 15, IBN wrote to the Energy Ministry asking it to submit the files within 15 days after getting the go-ahead from the 29th meeting of the IBN board held under the leadership of Prime Minister Oli.
The board also asked the ministry to send the reports of studies of 500 MW-plus projects being carried out by the ministry, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS), Department of Electricity Development, Nepal Electricity Authority and other state agencies.
IBN and the ministry have been at loggerheads with each other over the implementation of hydropower projects with an installed capacity of more than 500 MW for a long time. Disagreements between the two started after the ministry issued a survey licence for the 650 MW Tamakoshi 3 Hydropower Project to TBI Holding in October 2017 even as IBN was preparing to invite international bids to build the much-awaited project.
Irked by the decision, IBN wrote to the ministry asking it to send the documents of the 688 MW Betan Karnali and 617 MW Bheri-1 hydropower projects whose survey licences were issued by the ministry.
The Energy Ministry decided to consult the Law Ministry before reaching a decision and forwarded IBN’s letter to it. The Law Ministry said that the Energy Ministry had the sole authority to issue survey licences for hydropower projects, and that issuing such licences would not impinge on IBN’s jurisdiction nor violate the provisions of the Investment Board Act.
Source: The Kathmandu Post