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US seems interested to closely work with Nepal: Finance Minister Pun

B360
B360 April 21, 2024, 10:56 am
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KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun, who recently returned from a visit to the US, stated that the US government, private sector, and development partners are keen to work more closely with Nepal. 

Speaking to journalists upon his arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Saturday, Minister Pun, who attended the 2024 Spring Joint Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington DC, declared his visit a success. 

He said the US government, private sector, and development partners are eager to channel more support and investment into development projects with Nepal. "Overall, this visit has been successful. Discussions were also held with US government officials and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) officials. They have expressed their willingness to work with the Nepalese government and to cooperate more closely than in the past," he said. 

There has been significant interest among industrialists and businesspeople in the investment summit scheduled to take place in Nepal. 

Minister Pun shared that discussions have been held with the private sector, including companies such as Coca-Cola, Meta, and Disneyland. 

He also expressed confidence that the Millennium Challenge Nepal Account Development Committee (MCA-Nepal) has been constructing power transmission lines and road projects with the grant assistance of MCC. 

According to him, during the construction of the projects under MCA-Nepal, MCC grant assistance will be spent initially and the remaining works will be funded by Nepal itself. 

Minister Pun left for the US last Monday leading a four-member Nepalese delegation. He participated in 19 formal and informal programmes during the visit. 

He attended meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, as well as the ministerial meeting of the Group V-20 of countries threatened by the impact of climate change, sessions on clean energy transition in South Asia, and various high-level bilateral and multilateral meetings.

Minister Pun said serious discussions were held on mitigating the impact of climate change and compensation to be paid to low-carbon emitting countries like Nepal.

"Nepal has not contributed to carbon emissions and climate change, but the issue of Nepal receiving compensation for the role of developed countries has been seriously raised. The agenda raised by Nepal during the COP28 is still of high priority and was emphatically raised there," he said, adding, "In the discussions related to the energy sector of South Asia, Nepal is producing clean energy and there is a lot of potential for exporting clean and green energy.

Minister Pun and top officials of the World Bank have reached an important agreement on the financial structure of the 1,063MW Upper Arun Hydropower Project to be constructed in Sankhuwasabha. 

Pun said the World Bank has agreed in principle to a concessional loan of about $8.5 million for this project. 

Similarly, discussions were held to invest in co-financing of the 635MW Dudhkoshi Reservoir Hydropower Project, he added. 

In an interaction with the office-bearers of the US Chamber of Commerce, Minister Pun said Nepal is an attractive destination for international investors and called for investment.

Minister Pun held separate meetings with high-level officials and representatives of the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC), IMF, USAID, US International Development Finance Corporation, US Chamber of Commerce and Non-resident Nepali Association during his stay in America.

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