NIB seeks more teeth to implement 14 mega projects
BHOJ RAJ POUDEL
KATHMANDU, Jan 26: The government is preparing to authorize the Nepal Investment Board (NIB) to independently handle 14 mega projects after the latter faced implementation hurdles due to lack of cooperation from different line ministries.
The NIB officials have long been seeking more teeth to ensure smooth functioning of project implementation.
"The Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) is soon forwarding a proposal to the cabinet that envisages delegating more authority to NIB,” a source at the OMPCM told Republica. The source said lack of cooperation from line ministries prompted the government to take the fresh move.
“NIB has already asked the OPMCM to delegate more power to it for implementation of the projects,” the source said.
The NIB, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, is presently taking necessary decisions regarding the implementation of these mega projects.
The meeting of the board of directors of the NIB had decided to take over 14 mega projects including 5 hydropower projects such as Tamakoshi III (650 MW), Upper Karnali (900MW), Upper Marsyangdi (600MW), Arun III (900MW), West Seti (950 MW) in May.
NIB also has been overseeing Kathmandu-Terai Fast Track, a project to upgrade Tribhuvan International Airport, Nijgadh International Airport project and waste management project, among others.
Confirming the fresh developments, Krishna Hari Baskota, secretary at the OPMCM, said his office was seeking feedback from the concerned ministries on the issue. "We are holding discussion with concerned ministries before forwarding the proposal to the cabinet for approval," Baskota told Republica on Friday.
According to the source, NIB is facing difficulties even in getting the current status of the projects from concerned ministries. For example, NIB had asked Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to provide documents related to Nijgadh International Airport project around a couple of months ago. After the MoCTCA cold-shouldered its request, NIB had to approach Landmark Worldwide (LMW) - the firm that prepared detailed project report of the mega project - for the document.
The source also said the Ministry of Physical Planning, Works and Transport Management (MoPPWTM) is reluctant to let Kathmandu-Tarai Fast Track project to slip out of its hand. In yet another case, Ministry of Energy (MoE) has not given any document related to five mega hydropower projects to NIB.
The NIB officials claim the board reserves the authority to facilitate the implementation of all hydropower projects above 500 MW.
"The ministries have to comply with the decisions taken by the cabinet," the source said. "That is why NIB is seeking for stronger decision from the government to make it mandatory for all line ministries to extend cooperation to it."