Monday, August 13, 2018

Indian EXIM Bank proposes stake in Nepal's infrastructure bank, Nepal Bangladesh energy cooperation and more

From The Kathmandu Post: Exim Bank of India, an undertaking of the government of India, is exploring an investment opportunity in Nepal, potentially setting up its own infrastructure bank or making equity investments in an existing Nepali bank.

Officials of the southern neighbour’s export finance institution had approached the Finance Ministry in June with a proposal, which coincides with the Nepal government’s decision to sign an MoU with China’s Zhongji Richway Holdings Limited that same month, just days before Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to China. Finance Ministry officials told the Post they recommended the Exim Bank enter into an equity partnership with Nepal’s Infrastructure Development Bank (IDB), financed by local businessmen in partnership with the government.

Emerging Nepal, which was established under public-private partnership, is expected to come into operation by November 22, after it received a letter of intent (LoI) from the Nepal Rastra Bank in May. Chandra Prasad Dhakal, a board director of Emerging Nepal, confirmed to the Post that they had talks with Exim bank officials. He said they have been exploring the possibility of a joint venture with a number of Indian companies, and the Exim Bank of India is one. “The discussions are still at an early stage, so no concrete decision has been taken yet,” he said. Dhakal said Emerging Nepal could accommodate the Exim Bank as a promoter by altering the existing capital structure of the proposed bank. According to the IDB licensing policy introduced by NRB last year, foreign investors can invest up to 85 percent in such banks; and a paid-up capital of Rs20 billion is required to establish the bank.

From myRepublica: epal and Bangladesh inked a bilateral agreement on cooperation in electricity development, in Kathmandu Friday. This paves the way for opening the market in Bangladesh for Nepal’s hydroelectricity as well as bringing in Bangladeshi investment in this sector. Bangladesh, for its part, will meet its energy needs in the face of depleting natural gas, for sustaining its high rate of economic growth. 

Under the bilateral agreement, both countries will work on electricity generation, energy efficiency, renewable energy and on building grid connectivity, according to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation. The agreement was signed by Minister Barshaman Pun and Bangladesh State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid.

Bangladesh has to produce 40,000 MW of electricity by 2030 and 60,000 MW by 2041 to become a middle-income country, according to statistics of the Bangladesh government. According to a media report, if Bangladesh is to increase its GDP by 1 percent it will have to increase electricity generation by 1.5 percent. Currently, 80 percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million people have access to electricity—up from 47 percent in 2009.

Gandaki Province to integrate all tourism fees into one

From myRepublica: The provincial government of Gandaki Province has announced that it will integrate all tourism fees into one, following criticisms by trekking agencies and tourism professionals for not doing the needful in removing ambiguity about redundant tourism fees collected by different government entities. The tourism entrepreneurs had been demanding with the government to roll back the tourism fee imposed by each municipalities and rural municipalities separately to the trekkers. 

From the beginning of the current fiscal year, the Gandaki Province had imposed US$ 5 in tourism fee for tourists from the SAARC countries and US$ 10 fee for other nationals. Likewise, the local levels have imposed similar taxes on the tourists. Tourists who travel to the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) pay tourism fee in the name of Trekkers Information Management System (TIMS), while they are also required to pay additional fee for entering into specified areas in the name of ACAP Permit Fee.