KATHMANDU, Aug 13
The then managing director (MD) of the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) Arjun Kumar Karki, recently promoted to secretary by the government, has conceded that staffers of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) have been allocated more shares of Upper Tamakoshi Project under pressure.
Staffers of Citizen Investment Trust (CIT) and Rastriya Beema Sansthan (RBS), and then Nepal Telecom (NT) also put the NEA under difficult position putting forward their conditions one after another after staffers of EPF were allocated more shares. Pressure on NEA had intensified after the commercial banks, that had signed letter of understanding to invest on the project, stepped back later. More shares were allocated to the staffers, according to Karki, as NEA was under pressure to develop the project at any cost. Calling the agreement for allocation forced by the then context, Karki called for correction. “The agreement to allocate more shares to EPF staffers was signed at the time to acquire loan. Their share allocation now must be reduced by amending the Article of Association,” he states. He advises the promoter Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Limited to correct share allocation through a meeting. Acting project head Bigyan Prasad Shrestha also concedes pressure of trade unions in the background of agreement. He says the investors dominated the loan agreement.
EPF is charging an interest rate of 12 percent on its loan of Rs 10 billion. Staffers of the investors EPF will receive 3,050 units of shares each, CIT 2,033 units each and RBS 1,695 units each even as the locals of Dolakha district had to protest to get 50 shares of the project to be constructed in their district. Staffers of NEA and the promoter company will also get only 387 units each. Return of the project is expected to be more that Chilime as it is a cheaper project. The per-unit cost of Upper Tamakoshi is Rs 1.70 while that of Chilime is Rs 1.94. Staffers of the investors will become millionaires within three years of investing Rs 100 on each unit of shares.
A total of 18,259,520 units of shares (17.28 percent) have been allocated for depositors at EPF. There were 480,000 depositors at the time of loan agreement four years ago, according to an EPF official. Similarly, 500 staffers of EPF will get a total of 1,524,960 shares (1.44 percent). Around 10,500 staffers of NEA and the project will get 4,066,560 shares (3.84 percent).
Source : Karobar Daily