Nepal in priority for investment: AIIB

KATHMANDU, MARCH 26: The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has said it accords top priority to Nepal. A visiting high-level delegation from the AIIB said this during a meeting with Finance Minister Barshaman Pun, according to the Minister’s Secretariat. On the occasion, Finance Minister Pun urged the AIIB to scale up its investment in Nepal’s infrastructure development and other projects.

In reply, AIIB Director RMP Rathnayake, who leads the delegation, praised Nepal’s endeavours for investment policy reforms and their enhancement. He pledged to adopt a policy of increasing investment in Nepal in the days to come based on the availability of resources. The Minister also urged the AIIB for a partnership with Nepal’s private sector as per its policy of mobilizing its 50 per cent capital in partnership with the private sector.

In response, the delegation chief suggested the possibility of collaboration with Nepal’s private sector by selecting multi-year projects. On the occasion, the Finance Minister invited the AIIB to the Third National Investment Summit that Nepal is scheduled to host on April 28-29. Director Rathnayake said a high-level participation will be there from the AIIB at the Summit.

The Minister utilised the forum to call on the AIIB to ensure provisions to provide a concessional loan to Nepal and middle-income developing countries. He shared with the delegation that Nepal has been deprived of leveraging on expected benefits from the AIIB due to its relatively high-interest rates. “Despite being the AIIB founding member, Nepal has failed to take expected benefits from its investments due to a high-interest rate,” he said. Stating that multiple projects of infrastructure development are to be carried out in Nepal, he insisted on the concessions on AIIB borrowings to Nepal.

As he said, the government accords top priority to the infrastructure development and it is required to source out the funds due to its limited internal resources. The Minister advised the AIIB to invest in Nepal’s infrastructure development, hydroelectricity, tourism and information technology sectors, and the areas of relative benefits. He apprised the delegation that an agreement has been reached to supply 10,000 megawatts of electricity and added that there is no market issue for power to be generated in Nepal.

Likewise, as per the power trade agreement between Nepal and Bangladesh, Nepal will be soon exporting 40 megawatts of electricity to Bangladesh. Sharing about Nepal’s process to graduate from the least developed country to a developing country by 2026, the Minister sought diversifications of AIIB investment in Nepal.

Similarly, stating Nepal’s plan to mobilise the climate change finance in Nepal’s development projects, he also urged for the AIIB support towards that end. The AIIB has invested 40 million US dollars in the under-construction 216-MW Upper Trishuli-1 hydroelectricity project. It has investments in some under-construction transmission lines in Lumbini and Karnali provinces.