Preparation to dissolve Investment Board

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    KATHMANDU, June 19

    Nepal Investment BoardGovernment minister has started to call for dissolution of the Investment Board (IB) formed by the government to provide all services from a single door to remove administrative hassles for big investors.

    Stating that relevance of IB has finished, Energy Minister Radha Kumari Gyawali has called for its dissolution. “Far from evaluating whether it could work or not, its relevance has finished as the time and context at which it was formed has changed,” she argued. “Why do we need it when the ministries concerned can move big projects forward?” she stated. Talking to Karobar on Thursday she stated that energy, tourism, physical infrastructure and other ministries are capable to work. She argued that though the then prime minister Baburam Bhattarai had formed it at a time when big investment did not arrive due to conflict, the structure is not necessary now as the situation has changed. She claimed that the line ministries can do their own work now as the country is in the stage of constitution drafting and on the way toward political stability. “I had made up my mind for dissolution of IB from the day I assumed this office as the Energy Ministry can do works related to electricity, Tourism Ministry about tourism, and Ministry of Physical Infrastructure Ministry about roads and other infrastructures,” she added. She also claimed that IB cannot do any work that the ministries cannot.

    She revealed that her ministry will withdraw the hydropower projects from IB and move them forward. Claiming that the Energy Ministry can take back the projects from IB, she said the IB Act can also be changed if necessary. “Why should one go to IB when every work related to the energy sector can be done by the ministry with skilled work force and technical knowhow necessary for moving the projects forward? The projects of energy will be brought back to the ministry even by amending the act through the parliament. The amendment process will move forward as soon as possible for that,” she quipped.

    Stating that development of energy sector has been stalled in hopes of IB arranging investment, she contended that the investors will not come until the ministry expresses commitment. She revealed that the ministry also expressed such commitment to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), interested for development of hydropower development in Nepal, a few days ago. Fourteen big projects related to hydropower, roads, waste management and railway are under IB now. It is currently holding dialogue for project development agreement (PDA) with promoters of 900-MW projects Upper Karnali and Arun III, 600-MW Upper Marsyangdi, and 650-MW Tamakoshi III. But PDA has yet to be signed for these projects.

    Similarly, the 750-MW West Seti project is also with IB. The project has not moved forward in recent times even though IB claims that it has been holding discussion with CWE Investment Corporation of China about the project. It has been making efforts to move five big projects of combined installed capacity of 3800 MW but officials of line ministries have been accusing IB of not being able to work effectively even two years after coming into operation. Though big projects in different countries including India are moved forward through a development board, the jury is still out about its role here in Nepal.

    The government had formed IB after the ministries concerned could not work effectively. IB Chairman, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, and member, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, are also not positive toward IB in recent times.

    Source : Karobar Daily