KATHMANDU, Feb 20: The government has expedited the process for a government to government (G2G) deal on setting up a security printing press without conducting any study of correspondence by the Investment Board-Nepal (IBN) regarding another proposal it received from a Swiss company.
KBA-NotaSys had proposed to the government through the IBN to operate a security printing press in Nepal under the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model. The proposal would leave the government incurring no cost for setting up the printing facility, it is stated.
The government, however, had chosen to dismiss the Swiss proposal and reach a Memorandum of Understanding with a French company.
According to details received from IBN, the Swiss company had sought to establish a security printing press at a cost of 200 million euros for printing even bank notes. It has proposed to hand over to Nepal the entire facility along with all its infrastructures after five years of operation.
IBN had approved the Swiss proposal on January 8, 2017 and wrote accordingly to the Security Printing Development Committee on January 15. But the committee did not study the proposal at all and instead expedited a process to reach a G2G deal with a French company. Under the deal the country will need to take out billions in loan.
These developments come at a time when a parliamentary panel is raising questions over the eligibility of the French company and another company that have also proposed to set up security printing facilities in Nepal. But the two companies – INGroup of France and Germany’s Veridos – are found to have experience only in the software aspect of such undertakings.
The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives decided to call in the secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the director of the Security Printing Center for discussions on Thursday after it emerged that these two companies lacked prior experience, among other things.
“It does not mean that the government should accept the proposal made by KBA-NotaSys,” said an official at IBN on condition of anonymity. “But it is suspicious to sweep such an attractive proposal under the carpet and instead go for a G2G deal with certain other countries only.”