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Finance Minister Pun meets WB Group VPs, seeks more investment in Nepal

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RSS April 17, 2024, 4:38 pm
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KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun held separate meetings with World Bank (WB) Group Vice Presidents Akihiko Nishio (Development Finance) and Guangzhe Chen (Infrastructure) at the WB Headquarters in Washington DC last night.

According to the Minister's Secretariat, Finance Minister Pun expressed his gratitude to Akihiko Nishio for considering Nepal's proposal to organise a meeting of the International Development Association (IDA-21) under the WB Group in Kathmandu in the upcoming June.

He also had a meeting with Riccardo Puliti, International Finance Corporation (IFC) regional vice president for Asia and the Pacific.

Finance Minister Pun informed WB Vice President Akihiko that preparations for hosting the event are progressing well in cooperation with the WB Nepal Office in Kathmandu. He also took the opportunity to urge the WB to explore additional areas of investment in Nepal through concessional loans or grant schemes.

Minister Pun stated that Nepal's recent achievements in the fields of telecommunications, transport, and clean energy have the potential to attract global attention.

He added that Nepal has adopted the Kathmandu Declaration, which includes a strategic action plan for green, resilient, and inclusive development (Grid) that was endorsed by the Government of Nepal and its 16 development partners in 2021.  In line with the concept of the Declaration, Nepal will be implementing the First Nepal Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Programmatic DPC in the forthcoming year.

The Minister also acknowledged the WB's initiative to invest in the 1,063-MW Upper Arun Semi Reservoir Project and the 635-MW Dudhkoshi Reservoir Project.

Similarly, during his meeting with another Vice President, Finance Minister Pun stated that Nepal has prioritised infrastructure development. "The Nepal Government focuses on projects centred around energy, transport and urban infrastructure," he said.

He mentioned that a roundtable meeting held with the WB's Kathmandu-based officials regarding the financial modality of the Upper Arun and Dudhkoshi was productive, expressing his hope of finding a solution for the financial management for the implementation of projects soon.

Stating that both projects are 'game changer' projects for Nepal, he expressed his belief that their development will enhance the country's capacity to build large infrastructure projects. He shared that they were confident that the finance management of the Upper Arun Hydropower Project will be completed by mid-July.

The Finance Minister informed that tasks such as distribution of compensation to the people affected by Upper Arun Project, construction of the approach road and land acquisition are in the completion phase.

Reiterating that Nepal has secured the regional market for hydropower, he said an agreement has been reached to export 10,000 megawatts of power to India in the next 10 years and the process has been initiated for Bangladesh to purchase Nepal's power. 

During the meeting with IFC Vice President Puliti, Minister Pun expressed his belief that the collaboration between IFC and Nepal will deepen further in the coming days. Recalling that Nepal and the IFC have a five-decade-long collaboration, he said the IFC has invested in Nepal's tourism sector for the first time.

He praised the cooperation extended by IFC for Nepal's economic endeavours and the development of the private sector through capital management. He also appealed for an increase in the investment areas as well as capital mobilisation and technical assistance in the future, noting that IFC has been providing assistance in Nepal's tourism, energy, transportation and agriculture sectors.

Minister Pun reiterated that there are enhanced investment opportunities in the information technology (IT) sector in the coming days. He stated that, due to its small economy which is seeking investment capital, Nepal has adopted a policy of welcoming foreign direct investment (FDI).

In the three separate meetings, Finance Minister Pun provided information about the Investment Summit scheduled to be held on April 28 and 29 in Kathmandu. The goal of this summit is to increase FDI, and it is expected to attract high-level participation.

Minister Pun departed on Monday for the USA to participate in the Joint Spring Meeting of the WB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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