WB pledges $8.5 million concessional loan for Arun Hydropower Project: FinMin Pun

Published On: April 21, 2024 01:42 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 21: Finance Minister Barshaman Pun, who returned home from a US visit on Saturday, said that the US government, private sector and development partners are interested to work with Nepal more closely.

Talking to journalists at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Saturday, Finance Minister Pun, who returned after attending the 2024 Spring Joint Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC, said his visit was successful.

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

There has been a lot of attraction among the industrialists and business persons to the investment summit to take place in Nepal later this month.

Finance Minister Pun shared that discussions were held with the US private sector, including coca-cola, meta, disneyland and other companies.

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

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

Finance Minister Pun had left for the US last Monday, leading a four-member Nepali delegation. Finance Minister Pun participated in 19 formal and informal programs during the visit.

He attended meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, 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, as well as various high-level bilateral and multilateral meetings.

Finance 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 no contributions to carbon emissions and climate change, but the issue of Nepal getting compensation for the role of developed countries has been raised seriously. The agenda raised by Nepal during the COP-28 are still of high priority and were raised there emphatically," he said, adding, "In the discussions related to the energy sector of South Asia, the fact that Nepal produces clean energy and there is a lot of potential for export of clean and green energy from Nepal was mentioned.

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

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

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

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

Minister Pun had held separate meetings with the high-level officials and representatives of the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, 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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