Thursday, April 18, 2013

Loan to Nepal soon: EXIM Bank of India

Loan to Nepal soon: EXIM Bank of India
The Kathmandu Post, 2013-04-18
http://ekantipur.com/2013/04/18/business/loan-to-nepal-soon-exim-bank-of-india/370179.html
Ashok Thapa

KATHMANDU, APR 18 -
One and half years after the signing of an agreement with Nepal, EXIM
Bank of India has finally confirmed that it will soon release a Line
of Credit worth $250 million to Nepal to finance infrastructure
projects here.

Energy Secretary Hari Ram Koirala said that he received an email from
Radhika Lokesh, joint secretary at the India's Ministry of External
Affairs, on Tuesday, confirming the release of committed amount. "In
her email, Lokesh has assured that the Line of Credit will be released
at the earliest without fixing the date," said Koirala.

Nepal government and Exim of India Bank signed the agreement on
October 21, 2011 in New Delhi during the visit of the former Prime
Minister Baburam Bhattarai. Under the agreement, the loan is supposed
to be used in eligible machinery, equipment, goods and services
including consultancy services for the purpose of infrastructure
projects such as highways, airports, bridges, irrigation, roads,
railways and hydropower projects in Nepal. The government has decided
to use the pledged amount in hydropower, transmission line and road
projects.

While the credit agreement was supposed to come into effect from June
29, 2012, the release of the amount was delayed after the Nepal
government failed to submit the progress report of projects that are
due to be financed under the Indian aid.

"The government has already submitted the progress report, including
detailed project reports, of most of the projects to be built with the
Indian aid," said Koirala. The government, however, is yet to submit
the detailed project report of Modi-Lekhnath 132 KV Transmission Line.

After reviewing the DPR, a delegation from EXIM Bank of India led by
Lokesh had last week held a meeting with officials of Finance, Energy
and Physical Infrastructure ministries, among others.

"The delegates, during the meeting had assured to release the loan at
the earliest," added Secretary Koirala. As per the agreement, India
will provide loans for 30 years at 1.75 percent interest per annum and
Exim had written to the ministry on June 29, 2012, stating that the
loan has come into effect.

The government plans to spend $ 170 million on hydropower and
transmission line projects, while the rest of the amount will be spent
on the road and other infrastructure projects.

As per the agreement, the goods and services including consultancy
services of the value of at least 75 per cent of the contract price
shall be supplied by the

seller from India and the rest (other than consultancy services) may
be procured from outside India. "However, at the request of borrower
and with the approval of Government of India, Exim Bank may consider
reduction in the Indian content," the Reserve Bank of India stated on
its website.

According to ministry officials, there has been a difference between
the two sides over the use of Indian materials for the construction of
projects to be financed by Indian bank.

"Though we have asked the Indian side to reduce the use of Indian
materials to 50 percent, it is yet to be settled," said the ministry
official. Construction of around half a dozen transmission lines has
not moved ahead due to delay in sanctioning of the credit. The Nepal
Electricity Authority (NEA) has not been able to sign Power Purchase
Agreement with four hydropower projects to be built in Solu and Koshi
corridor due to uncertainty about construction of the transmission
lines.
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