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Archive for the month “September, 2013”

UCPN (Maoist) Wooing Private Sector

Poll Strategy or Paradigm Shift?

Many view the Maoist proximity with the business community in recent days as a strategy in relation to the upcoming CA polls.

By Sagar Ghimire

With the Constituent Assembly elections approaching, UCPN (Maoist) is making an all-out effort to woo the private sector.

The Maoist party even agrees to accept a ‘private sector-led economic revolution’ now. Economic analysts term it a paradigm shift in the economic policy of the Maoists – from a vociferous opponent of the capitalism to a proponent of private sector led economic growth.

Maoist chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s statement requesting the business community to lead the ‘economic revolution’ at the Nepal Leadership Summit organized by New Business Age Pvt Ltd on September 5 corroborates the shift of the party from a state-controlled economy to a liberal economic policy. A week later at an interaction programme held by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Dahal stressed the need for a private sector-led economic revolution, stressing that only rhetoric would not bring desired transformation in the country.

Though the UCPN (Maoist) changed its destructive ways as soon as it joined the mainstream politics in 2006 and said it was open to the concept of open-market economy. The former rebel party’s commitment towards the free market was not so strong at that time.

The business community was skeptical towards its economic credentials as it had not shunned violence completely the political document was not in line with favourable market policies and it was creating labour unrest in industries.

The Maoists had twice got the opportunity to lead the government after it abandoned the insurgency. The Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) was signed with India during the Dr Baburam Bhattarai-led government, which analysts say, marked a turn of the Maoists to an open market policy.

However, many still view the Maoist proximity with the business community in recent days as a strategy in relation to the upcoming CA polls.

Maoist sympathiser Economic Analyst Hari Roka sees the Maoist proximity with the business community as an attempt of the former to assuage the fears of the latter by assuring that they would support a free-market but fully regulated economy. “Since the Maoists have now realized that the private sector is also a major player here, they want to strike a balance by taking the business community into confidence,” said Roka. “Earlier, distribution was their central plank, but now they consider production as a priority.”

The decision of the Maoist convention in Hetauda on forming production brigades in order to make the party financially self dependant is taken on this line, he said.

Senior economist Dr Bishwambhar Pyakurel, however, said that the Maoist attempt to woo the private sector was a result of circumstantial political compulsion. “Their long-term political goal is different, but for the time-being, they do not have any other choice except to move hand-in-hand with the private sector.”

He added, “Even though the Maoists are making a commitment to accept the market-led economic system as a tactic to woo the business community for electoral benefits, we have to tap into this opportunity to turn their words to reality.”

‘The New Media Has Impacted The Journalism Teaching And Training’

Martin HuckerbyMartin Huckerby is a well known British Journalist with wide experience as a reporter and news editor on top UK newspapers. In these fifteen years, of career he has worked as an editorial consultant, advising news organizations and training journalists around the globe. He was editor of The Prague Post, the English-language paper of the Czech Republic (1992-96), foreign news editor of The Observer, London (1989-92) and reporter and news editor at The Times, London (1972-86). Currently, he is in Nepal to provide investigative journalism training. He shares his experiences as a trainer with Siromani Dhungana andSanjeev Sharma of The Corporate. Excerpt: 
What to you exactly do at Thompson foundation?
I am simply a consultant, an outsider in Thompson Foundation. I am an independent media consultant/trainer and a journalist. I have been working closely with Thomson Foundation since last couple of years.
You are a renowned journalism trainer at present? What excites you about the training?
If people benefit from the training it is always a pleasure for me. It is actually a sense of putting the opportunities I’ve had or things I’ve learned to passed on to other people who want to use them. The other nice thing about being a journalism trainer is the opportunity to go to other countries and meet different people, which is very interesting part of my job.
What are the most important things you want to pass on to the participants of the trainings?
It varies from countries to countries. It is important to tell whatever you are doing in the particular environment and in a particular political situation.  For instance, I had been in Nepal and South Africa as a trainer last year to train journalists. I found that the environment was totally different in South Africa compared to Nepal. Choice of topics, issues and approaches in trainings varies from place to place.
What are the basic skills you want to pass on to the journalists in general?
There are many skills that you can use as a journalist. I wouldn’t say that there are specific skills to pass on. I think we are in a business of opening people’s eyes and making them realize that there are different ways of approaching their jobs according to the norms on their organization or countries. We basically try to train journalists about the different ways of approaching issues and topics. I divide news into two broad categories- news that is important to people and news that they are interested in. I think while writing news, journalists should try to explore ways to make the issues more attractive and interesting. Every journalist should be aware of the need of readers or viewers. Talking about Nepali media sector, in 20 years there has been pretty amazing and tremendous progress. With relatively low level of trainings, Nepali journalists made their way pretty amazingly.
There is a rapid change in media technology these days. What changes have new technology brought to the media landscape?
I think the change and impact brought by technology is very vast. Use of technology has made a constant change in all types of media.  Most are faced with the future which is incredibly unclear. I remember a conversation with one of the top digital news official in the BBC a few years ago. During the conversation, he told me that now we should try fast and kill fast. He was referring to their work style, and the fact that the news ideas are coming very quickly from various sources through different media. And if they don’t find those news to be useful they would be ‘killed’ or thrown away quickly.
In western countries, traditional media are still making profit. However, it is a fact that new media has made them less profitable. The financial crisis and the rise of digital media have slowed the pace of advertising into the traditional media.  Thus, we can say that the media particularly in the west, is facing a situation of double whammy. The digital revolution has brought a massive change which the traditional media are adapting to gradually. The new media has also impacted the journalism teaching and training. There are a whole lot of materials to study in the web. One can get training from anywhere from any part of the world. However, I think the level of interaction between trainer and the trainee during the online training is somewhat limited.
How do you assess the current scenario of business journalism throughout the world?
I can’t make many intelligent comments about the particular topic as I am not an expert in business journalism. However, I do compare business and financial publications of different countries. I would say that business journalism varies considerably in different countries and different aspects should be considered while writing business news. I mean to say that the impact of different business, financial and economic events in everyday life of people should be highlighted in the first hand.

‘Green Economy For Economic Development’

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Madhav Kumar Nepal

 

To meet the targets of proposed Economic Revolution Roadmap: Vision 2080, all the concerned parties must be committed. These objectives must be incorporated as economic agenda by all. When everyone is determined for political, economic and social progress, economic revolution is not an unattainable pursuit. But, sustainable economic development is possible only with political stability and rule of law. To establish political stability and rule of law, Constituent Assembly election slated for November 19 must be conducted peacefully. Then the economic development can gain momentum.
Our economy is dependent on imports. To lower the high trade deficit, export oriented policies and programmes must be made. Likewise, investment in export oriented industries must be encouraged. For this, internal resources and external opportunities must be well coordinated and productive sectors must be developed.
Similarly, employment must be generated through stable and long term investments. For this to happen, government, industrialists and workers must rise above their vested interests and serve the national interest. A favourable environment for running industries and making investments must be created. If these can be ensured, the campaign to achieve economic development and lifting country from the status of least developed to developing country is not overambitious.
There must be committed focus on policy stability, power development, investment in employment oriented productive sector and expansion of the service sector.  If we want to build new Nepal and make sure all people are prosperous, we must prioritise certain things first. They could be restructuring the society, overhauling the administrative structure, eradicating social discriminations and anomalies and prioritising the development of skilled human resources. Similarly, the physical infrastructure and power development must be prioritised as the water resource is being wasted. These targets are not unachievable but the only need is of the national commitment and positive thinking.
Investment must be concentrated on infrastructure development. Whether it is international airport at Nijgadh or fast track road, they are the basis for economic revolution. Development of agriculture, service sector and tourism industry can make Nepal leap towards economic prosperity within a decade. Similarly, green economy must be prioritised. Criminalisation of politics and politicisation of crime must come to an end. End of corruption and good governance must be ensured.
The Birgunj-Pathlaiya industrial corridor development with minimum standards must be declared soon. The concept of Greater Birgunj must be implemented and Birgunj should be announced as the financial capital. Sincere implementation of these initiatives can put Nepal in the path to economic revolution.

‘Agriculture, Regional Market And Infrastructure Development For Economic Prosperity’

Jhala Nath Khanal
Jhala Nath Khanal
Nepal holds numerous potentials for achieving economic prosperity as the country is bestowed with valuable natural resources. Nepal needs to develop various sectors by setting priorities on them. Nepal must promote tourism based economy and we should not neglect the fact that Nepal is suitable for off-season and all season agriculture.
The country has passed through major political changes from 1950s to 1990s. However, these changes couldn’t lay foundation for economic transformation. Therefore, these political changes could not be institutionalised. In 2006 it was a historic change but unfortunately, that too has not been institutionalised yet.
The political stability has an important role in establishing democracy, rule of law and optimum utilisation of resources. There are no doubts about the successful completion of upcoming elections on time. Election is a milestone for creating a base for economic development. Every political party must have commitment for polls. And, the upcoming Constituent Assembly election is also a basis for state restructuring.
Nepal has to be transformed into a developing country from the present status of least developed country. If all the concerned stakeholders express determination towards this goal, Nepal can be upgraded into a developing country within a decade. The country had to experience major ups and downs during the last 15 years. During that time, a huge investment made an exit from Nepal and many industries were closed. Similarly, many industries were announced sick during that period.
At present, around 400,000 people enter into the labour market each year. To provide jobs for them, the agriculture must be mechanised, modernised and co-operatised. Economic development cannot happen without development of agriculture. The agriculture sector can be modernised by establishing research centres and increasing investment in addition to other similar programmes. If the agro productivity can be increased, Nepal can achieve economic prosperity within a short time.
Nepal is a country with more than 30 million population. If China in the north and South Asia are considered, the population accounts to almost half of the global population. thus there is a huge market for us next door. We do not have to look at Europe, USA or Australia in search of market. If we can tap this market by enhancing our capacity to produce products with competitive advantage in these markets, we can progress towards prosperity within a short time.
Nestled between India and China, Nepal must devise its economic strategies, policies and programmes to explore the benefits of this unique geographical position. Similarly, we must revise our economic diplomacy. Development of physical infrastructure is another integral part of achieving economic development. Physical infrastructures such as mid-hill highway, international airport at Nijgadh and north-south highways to connect China and India must be given prime importance. Similarly, social infrastructures such as hospitals and universities too must be taken into high consideration. With these infrastructures, we can push the country towards development and prosperity.

‘Foreign Investment Required’

Dr Baburam Bhattarai
Dr Baburam Bhattarai
We have spent a long time focusing on the political revolution and now we need to shift the focus to the economic side. But all we have to understand the interrelation between political and economical revolution. In order to have economic development, we have to trace out our shortcomings – what are our strengths and what are the hindrances to economic development?
One of our major problems is absolute poverty and absolute backwardness, which is the basic weakness in our economic development, and which has led the country to a sluggish pace of development of not more the 2 per cent average growth in 50 years. There has not been much change in the real income level of the people, and this small economic growth is wiped away by the constant population growth.
Therefore, we need a vision to see where we will be in the upcoming 10 years. For that, we have to bring in foreign investment and utilize our domestic resources to stimulate economic development
During our government, we had focused on taking growth to a double digit rate. For ten per cent growth rate 40 per cent of the GDP has to be invested. As the GDP being NRs 1700billion we have to invest 700bilion per year. One of the basic sources for it is internal tax revenue – which approximately generates NRs. 300bn out of which NRs. 150bn can be invested fordevelopment – the other source is remittance which is approximately  NRs 600bn out of which if we invest NRs 200bn, we can still arrange another 200-300 billion form other internal sources. we should be able to bring in another 200 billion from foreign investment.
Therefore, it is important to mobilize the national capital as well as foreign investment in order to reach the economic growth of double digit. And if we follow this economic strategy and invest in basic economic infrastructure like electricity, road, airports and social infrastructure like education and health, not only will we witness growth in GDP but also growth in per capita income from USD750 to USD3000. In order to achieve this growth, there also has to be a political commitment, consensus and most importantly, a stable government for five years to govern the country – whether it is the nepali Congress, the UML or the unified CPN Maoist or any other party. As far as the UCPN (M) is concerned, it is totally committed towards inclusive development to reduce economic and social disparities.
Secondly, we have to maintain a stable policy with the two rapidly developing neighbouring countries India and China. We have to turn into an investment pool for these countries in order to stimulate our development.
Lastly, we have to eradicate political and institutional corruption and until we eradicate this, there will always be hindrances in development and investment. In order to mitigate this problem, we have to be transparent. Forceful donation has to stop and the system should be able to bring some budget to the political parties which will give rise to a transparent political party system.

India Outpaces Japan To Become World’s 3rd Largest Internet User

India Outpaces Japan To Become World’s 3rd Largest Internet User
India surpassed Japan to become the world’s third-largest Internet user, based on the size of its online population, behind only the U.S. and China. The growth highlights the potential of India’s fast-growing e-commerce market, according to a report from global digital measurement and analytics firm ComScore.
“Riding on a 31 per cent year-on-year increase, India’s online population grew to 73.9 million. With an extended online universe in excess of 145 million the market is at a tipping point for online businesses. India is the world’s third largest Internet population,” the report said.The country overtook Japan by adding 17.6 million users in 2012, the ComScore report said.Of the total 644 million home and work Internet users in Asia-Pacific as of March 2013, China accounted for a lion’s share of 54 per cent followed by India (11.5 per cent), Japan (11.4 per cent), Southeast Asia (9.6 per cent) and rest of APAC (13.5 per cent).On consumption, ComScore said that media fragmentation is occurring at light speed in today’s multi-platform environment, which features not only computers, but smartphones, tablets, gaming platforms and a ever-increasing number of emerging devices.
According to the study, India has the youngest skewing online population among BRIC countries, with 75 percent of its Internet users under the age of 35. “Although the U.S. held 66 percent of the total global Internet audience in 1996, it now accounts for just 13 percent of the global online users, while the Asia-Pacific region accounted for 41 percent and Europe accounted for 27 percent of the global Internet users in 2012,” the report states.
However, U.S. users spent the most time on the Internet with North Americans spending 37.2 hours, while users from Asia-Pacific spent just 17.2 hours, on an average, in a month. India’s strong growth in its Internet audience — at six times the global average growth rate – holds enormous opportunity for the country’s e-marketers, which helps the country’s e-commerce sector, which is estimated to reach $100 billion in size by 2015, according to estimates.
“While 60 percent of Web users in India visit online retail sites, time spent on shopping sites still has huge growth potential,” the report said. India’s online retail market grew more than 60 percent in 2012-2013, with the apparels market growing by 21 percent, ComScore said. Indian Internet users spent 25 percent of their online time in social networking websites, with 86 percent of the total audience visiting such sites in the last fiscal year. Facebook dominates the segment with 59.6 million user-visits and a 28 percent increase in the traffic. Entertainment and online video segments also witnessed exponential growth with 54 million users, in 2012-13. “The online video audience in India grew an astounding 27 percent in the past year, and YouTube continues to be the top video property with more than 55 percent share,” according to the report.

‘Mobile internet fueling internet population growth in Nepal’
In line with the global surge, Nepal is also witnessing a staggering growth of internet population. According to a report published by Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA) in July, over 25 per cent of Nepali citizens have access to internet connection. “As of mid-July (last fiscal year), Nepal’s internet penetration rate reached 26.10 per cent of the total population against the rate of 19 per cent in the same period of last year,” the report states.
The report informed that the total number of internet users has reached 6.91 million.
The robust use of internet is fueled by mobile internet, sub-broadband and high speed services such as WiMax. However, the high speed 3G wireless mobile network is seen as the main driving factor of internet population growth in Nepal. “Out of total subscribers, 6 million users surf the world wide web through their mobile devices,” reads the NTA report. The sharp rise in the availability of low-cost smartphone handsets and competitive bandwidth prices are seen as factors attracting internet users. Furthermore, the appeal of social media is also considered as another major element which contributes to the rise of internet users. In July, commercial web traffic data provider Alexa Internet Inc, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, ranked Facebook as the most popular website among Nepali internet users. The company also ranked Twitter and Linkedin in 12th and 13th place in Nepal respectively.

Auto Oil Pricing Mechanism

The hostility of the oil price hyping continues to threaten the economic social development rights of the people. This tends to effect more to the 80 per cent of the working class, middle class, and the people living below the threshold level least effecting the 20 per cent of the elite who continue to consume almost 60 per cent of the national  income. This augmentation on oil price is not only effecting the oil consumer but has even devastating effect on the poor when the price of all other basic necessities hype to a greater level but there is no shift in the income level of the 80 per cent even if there is least possibility.
Saroj Pandey, Former president, Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association (NPDA)
Saroj Pandey
Former president, Nepal Petroleum Dealers’ Association (NPDA)
One of the major reasons behind the oil pricing mechanism is the oil politics, the bigger picture lies behind the veil that is reluctance of both political parties and the National Oil Corporation (NOC). The NOC being one of the biggest pitch for corruption, this extreme incompetence of the two sides is leading the country towards black hole of economic detriment. The reluctance can be seen, after facing so many oil crisis and dispute. The NOC has not been able to set any petroleum regulatory mechanism nor does the government have it been able to bring any sort of law and act regarding petroleum distribution and regulation. This incompetence of the government and the NOC is leading frustration among the people and also among private investors. This mismanagement of corporation and constant oppression to the people will have to come to an end.  If they cannot run the country and the corporation they will have to raise their hands to surrender the oil pricing mechanism to the market forces. There I suggest the Government to wash their hands off the dirty politics and the private investor to maintain their ethics and give justice to this crisis.
Deepak Subedi,Spokesperson, Ministry of Commerce and Supplies
Deepak Subedi
Spokesperson, Ministry of Commerce and Supplies 
The budget has clearly decided to take on the auto pricing mechanism and the government is slowly moving toward the required policy formation to adopt the system, it is a gradual process because if the prices are abruptly left on the auto mechanism there would be rapid growth of inflation which could make the situation even more chaotic. Looking at the past, the previous governments had constantly tried to raise the price of the oil, which led to protest. Then the government was forced to revoke those decisions immediately. But this government   seems committed and is looking for a long term solution .Because of the over hiking debts this government has decided cut subsides.

‘Comprehensive Strategy Needed For Hydropower Development’

Yasing Zhang,Senior Vice President of Sinohydro Resources Ltd,
Yasing Zhang is the Senior Vice President of Sinohydro Resources Ltd, a Chinese multinational hydropower and infrastructure company. Zhang was in Kathmandu to attend the two-day Power Summit 2013. In a tete-e-tete with Sanjeev Sharma of The Corporate, he expresses his plan to tap hydropower potential in Nepal.
Power Summit 
I think, the Power Summit 2013 organised by the Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal (IPPAN) has provided a platform for investors, policy makers and stakeholders to freely express their views and to discuss various topics regarding the hydropower sector. I believe that the discussions helped iron out major hassles prevailing in the sector. In this regard, the Power Summit 2013 has successfully achieved its goal to hasten the pace of hydropower development in Nepal.
FDI in the Hydropower
As an investor, we feel that there is an absence of preferential and privilege policies to attract foreign investment in Nepali hydropower projects. There are no incentives in terms of taxes for foreign investors. The tax burden created from provisions of contract tax and value added tax (VAT) is putting pressure on the developers. The absence of proper insurance policies pertaining to hydropower has also been hindering foreign investment. Investments in projects are always at risk in case of natural disaster or big technical failures if there are no proper insurance policies in place.
 It is necessary to formulate investment-friendly policies to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Thus, policy makers should harmonise existing laws.
Problems for Investors
Nepal has tremendous hydropower potential. But the country has yet to tap its potential due to several problems mostly linked to project licensing, technical issues as well as legal hurdles. I think the Nepal government should be ready to relax existing hassles on agreement and licensing to ensure timely service delivery. In Nepal, there is no procedure in accordance with international standards to issue Project Development Agreements (PDA), which slows the pace of project development and adversely affects the sentiment of developers. The initial survey licenses of various major projects are held by domestic/foreign developers for several years or even decades. Similarly, there are also issues regarding Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). The fluctuation in foreign exchange rate makes things difficult for power developers as they are more likely to face loss in selling the electricity they generate. These issues should be addressed first hand.
There are several infrastructure-related constraints. Poor roads, lack of transmission lines, difficulties in conducting projects in remote areas and insufficient supply of construction materials and equipments are other problems in developing a project here.  Likewise, awarding a single river basin to many contractors is also adding complications. Some social and political influences such as frequent protests and strikes against particular projects and inadequacy of local skilled staffs are other contributing factors.
Solutions to the Existing Hassles
Effective policies are needed to solve all aforementioned problems. Developing common standards and procedures concerning hydropower investment will also have positive impact. A common standard and procedures should address issues regarding contract and licenses, company registration, bank account opening and control of foreign currency. Issues regarding the holding of initial license can be solved by cooperation with or transferring from the initial license holder. As far as PDA and PPA are concerned, the government should follow procedures in line with international standards.
There is an exigency in preferential policy provision on hydropower investments. This includes duty exemption and tax reduction on raw materials, construction equipments, vehicles, and the income of power developers. Convenience on custom clearance and flexibility in work visa will also boost the morale of foreign investors. There are several issues regarding land acquisition by the projects. This issue could be solved by issuing instructive principles of land acquisition. Establishing a general administration on land acquisition and transfer capable of providing guiding land price in different regions and project areas will be the first right step. Secondly, simplifying the land acquisition and transfer procedure is also necessary.
One-stop service of hydropower development can deliver effective solutions. For that, the government should set-up a stable and comprehensive agency responsible for hydropower administration in Nepal.
Water Resource Management 
Hydropower development is directly linked to water resource management. If properly managed, the water resource of a single project can be used for various purposes. For this, Nepal needs to identify pilot projects. Those projects should be fairly large enough in terms of power generation. This will help focus efforts in hydropower development. Apart from electricity generation, such projects may also provide water for irrigation and drinking.
Sinohydro’s Plan 
Sinohydro Resources Limited is the overseas investment window of Power Construction Corporation of China (Power China). We have been in overseas investment business since 2004 with a registered capital of USD 400 million. We entered the Nepali market in 1995 and successfully accomplished six major hydropower, irrigation and infrastructure projects since then. The Ilam Hydroelectric Project, Modi Hydroelectric Project, Sikta Irrigation Project Phase 1, Sunsari-Morang Irrigation Project, and Bagmati Irrigation Project were handed over to the Nepal government after completion. Similarly, we upgraded the Tansen-Tamghas road project. Currently, Sinohydro is engaged in civil works of Kulekhani 3 and Upper Tamakoshi. Likewise, the 50MW Upper Marsyangdi ‘A’ hydropower project is being developed with our investment.
Nepal should Take Advantages
Nowadays, trading of surplus power is becoming a lucrative trade in the world. Nepal can earn substantial amount of money from such trading. I suggest the government and concerned authorities to formulate a master plan of power consumption. The plan should assess domestic requirements and power for export. Similarly, the establishment of a nationwide transmission network is also necessary for electricity export.

Lighting Nepal: The Vision Ahead

Lighting Nepal: The Vision Ahead
–By Suraksha Adhikari 
At time when Nepal has failed to exploit the immense hydropower potential, the capital hosted two international events to invite foreign investors in this sector. The experts and the delegates who had participated in the meet suggested the government to rectify their inconsistent policy for the sluggish growth of hydropower development in the country.
The Event
The event — claimed to be first in Nepal — held under the banner of ‘Power Summit 2013’ jointly organised by Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal (IPPAN), PTC India Limited and Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA). The event was inaugurated by President Dr Ram Baran Yadav with an objective to ‘Hastening Pace of Hydro power Development’. It reviewed Nepal’s achievement in harnessing its hydropower potential since 2006, weaknesses and measures to be adopted to accelerate the pace of hydropower development.
The Themes
The topics related to project was to meet local demand to be built with local capital and foreign capital. There are other important issues which were discussed in the summit includes plan to export power, its markets integration, transmission line and power market management.
The summit was designed to cover all major areas that are prerequisite for the development of the country’s hydropower sector, including political commitment, legal and regulatory framework, realistic electricity demand forecast, electricity pricing, project financing infrastructure, construction of transmission lines and managing local expectations, according to IPPAN.
The Expectations of Participants
Having the participation of around 500 individuals, including power developers from Russia, Korea, Czech Republic, New Zealand, Norway, Canada, the US, India and China, the summit came up with the ides and suggested the government to develop hydropower projects in the country.
The participants asked the government to make realistic energy demand forecast which would guide investors. They also asked to simplify multifold procedures in developing hydropower projects. They complained that involvement of large number of institutions and contradicting laws have been the barriers in investment.
“The power developers have to approach as many as 10 government agencies, along with abiding by 15 national laws, for registration, licence procuring and development of hydropower projects,” said Narendra Prajapati, treasurer of Independent Power Producers Association of Nepal (IPPAN).
The Government’s Voice
The representatives of government of Nepal present in the summit focused in integrating Nepal’s hydropower with the neighbouring countries for upgrading the power sector of the entire region. Ministers informed that the government is working to attract foreign investments in this sector. They also highlighted that the government has been working to invite private sector in the development of transmission lines.
In his inaugural address, President Dr Ram Baran Yadav said that Nepal can be recognized as a ‘hydropower nation’ through the development of hydropower sector. He underlined the fact that Nepal’s success depends on how it interacts with its neighbours.
Minister for Finance, Industry, Commerce and Supplies Shankar Prasad Koirala, while stating that the government has accorded the top priority to the hydropower among all economic sectors, said, “The government is working towards the simplification and revision of the policies to boost investment in this sector.
He said, that the government has allocated budget of Rs 13.5 billion for the construction of transmission line so that the hydro electricity won’t go waste due to lack of transmission line. Similarly the government is also planning to construct Upper Tamakoshi, Tanahu Seti, Budigandaki and Nalsinghad hydroprojects. “Preparations are underway to sign power purchase agreement with the projects that are lying in wait for long,” he added.
Ensuring the private sector and other concerned authority in resolving problems that are chronic in power sector, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) assured that the problems could be anything ranging from stalled construction transmission lines and generation projects in the public sector to delayed concluding PPAs and achieving requisites and approvals in case of IPP projects.
The Upbeat Spirit
Along with the government of Nepal, the private sector was also found motivated in opening up markets and developing infrastructure in the form of roads and transmission networks for making Nepal’s hydroelectricity a resource of this entire region. “Our destination is to increase power generation and per-capita consumption by at least five fold in the next decade,” said Subarna Das Shrestha, President, IPPAN.
Foreign representatives who attended the power summit claimed that there are positive signs for the development of power sector, despite some hurdles. According to them cooperation between the investors of different countries should be encouraged in Nepal for the benefit of the Nepalese economy. The representatives of the countries assured that they can share their expertise and their capital with their Nepalese counterparts.
Norwegian Ambassador to Nepal Alf Arne Ramslien and Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai assured to extend all possible support from their government for the hydropower development aimed at prompting Nepal’s inclusive growth.
RV Shahi, former power secretary of India, said that uncertainty over the consensus on the hydropower development in Nepal is the reason why it lags behind in harnessing the hydropower sector. He suggested the government to prioritise a few projects which could be promptly developed to boost confidence among people, developers and financers.
Sharing the experiences and lessons from Hydropower Investment in Nepal, Yaxing Zhang, Vice President of Sinohydro Resources Limited said that there is a lack of preferential provisions in the laws of Nepal. There are constraints like poor roads, lack of transmission lines, difficulties in conducting projects in very remote areas, shortage of modern equipment and tools needed for construction.
“We have worked on six projects in Nepal- Ilam Hydroelectricity Project being one of them. Two are still under construction,” he added.  It also has joined hands with local company Sagarmatha Power Company for a hydro power project.
The Investments
Similarly the second event entitled International Hydropower Investment Meeting held on August 28-29 organized by Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Company Limited (HIDCL) discussed foreign and domestic investments in those areas which have been identified as potential hydropower projects in the country.
Different countries including Nepal, India, Australia, China, US, United Kingdom as well as countries associated to the European Union participated in the meeting. During inaugurating the programme, Umakant Jha, Minister for Energy invited the foreign investors to invest in such projects in Nepal. He said, “It is high time to go for storage type projects for securing the future of energy in the country.”
The foreign investors are also showed interest in investing in hydropower sector. Priyantha Wijayatunga, Unit Head, Portfolio Management Unit at the Asian Development Bank (ADB), stated that the ADB was always positive to extend its support for the development of hydropower sector in Nepal.
He said that the ADB would provide about 400 million US$ financial support in the hydropower sector in the next three years. The OPG Power and Infrastructure Pvt Ltd also committed to invest $ 10 million in this sector in Nepal.
Dalip Dua, Director of OPG Power and Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, said, that the foreign investors are willing to invest in Nepal but it’s the duty of Nepal’s Government to create investment friendly environment.
Deepak Rauniar, chief executive officer of HIDCL said that priority should be given for the power producing to end the existing energy crisis. “Political stability and commitment from the government can attract large number of foreign investors in the hydropower sector of Nepal,” he said.
Moreover, the concern of all the participants of both the summits was to create an investment friendly environment.
Power Summit Nepal 2013

157.8 Million Shares Listed In NEPSE

–By TC Correspondent 
Around 157.8 million shares have been listed in Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) in the FY 2012-2013. During this period, IPO shares, bonus and right shares were listed in NEPSE. The numbers of listed shares have increased by 3 per cent from the previous fiscal year. At the end of FY 2011-2012, the listed shares in NEPSE were around 1.14 billion which increased to around 1.30 billion in the previous year.
Securities Board of Nepal (SEBON) has provided all kinds of share issuance permits up to Rs 20.31 billion. According to a SEBON source, permission has been given to issue IPO shares up to Rs 3.51 billion to 23 companies, right shares up to Rs 3.94 billion to 5 companies, bonus shares up to Rs 4.60 billion to 52 companies and bond issuance up to Rs 3.15 billion to 7 companies. There is a possibility of these shares being listed in NEPSE for transaction in the current fiscal year which ensures the expansion of share markets in comparison to the previous fiscal year.
Market Size Increased by 40pc
Compared to FY 2011-2012, market capitalisation of the share market has increased by 40 per cent in FY 2012-2013. Market capitalisation in the previous fiscal year had increased by 13.84 per cent. During the end of FY 2011-2012, the total market capitalisation of companies listed in NEPSE was Rs 368 billion which increased to Rs 514 billion in FY 2012-2013.  According to Anjan Raj Poudyal, former President of Stock Brokers Association of Nepal (SEBAN), the increment in the share market size is caused by the rise in the number of listed companies, share and investors within this year. He also said the operation of essential infrastructures of share market like CDS & Clearing and mutual funds also helped to increase the market size. Poudyal added, “The investors are also increasing lately with the continuity of share market activities.”
Transaction Rate Doubled
The transaction amount of total shares in the FY 2012-13 has increased by 114 per cent than of the FY 2011-2012. The share transaction was of Rs 10.27 billion in FY 2011-2012 which has reached up to Rs 22.4 billion in FY 2012-2013.
Listed Companies Reached 230
The number of listed companies in the previous fiscal year has reached 230. Among the listed companies, there are 198 bank and financial institutions, 18 manufacturing and processing industries, 4 hotels, 4 commercial organisations, 4 hydro power companies and 2 other groups.  There were 216 listed companies in FY 2011-2012.

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