Nepal Energy Investment Forum concluded here today with firm commitment from the government to minimise current power shortages and create a conducive environment for private investment in the energy sector.
In his concluding remarks, Minister of Energy Posta Bahadur Bogati expressed satisfaction at the successful conclusion of the forum and gave assurances that the government will address the issues raised by various stakeholders during the forum for rapid development of hydropower in Nepal.
Secretary of Ministry of Energy Balananda Poudel presented the outcome of the forum and noted that building sustainable partnerships among different stakeholders is critical to the development of hydropower projects.
He also emphasised the need to look beyond revenue generation, including the affected communities, in the process and considering hydropower development from the point of view of overall development of the country and its people. The government assured stakeholders that it would take all necessary steps to address the gaps and inconsistencies in the policies and would take immediate steps to make Hydropower Investment and Development Company Ltd effective, and undertake restructuring of related institutions.
The government greatly appreciated the assistance of multilateral and bilateral development partners and Asian Development Bank (ADB), in particular, for the continuous support extended.
The forum also highlighted the many barriers faced by private sector investors in hydropower development and how the government, development partners and other stakeholders could assist in overcoming those barriers. A list of available projects for private sector investment in the energy sector in Nepal was also showcased. Discussions in the forum also highlighted lessons learnt in developing hydropower projects, such as the Bhotekoshi Hydropower in Nepal, the Nam Theun-2 in the Greater Mekong Subregion, the Itaipu in Brazil and the ones in Manitoba in Canada.
The ADB highlighted ongoing development assistance to the power sector in Nepal and how its increased focus on private sector-led investment could benefit the hydropower sector. ADB's continued support to the country's poverty reduction and development efforts was also emphasized in this context, including ADB investment and technical assistance for energy access and efficiency improvement, clean energy development, regional cooperation and strengthening sector governance.
Speaking at the closing session, ADB’s country director for Nepal Barry Hitchcock said solving the energy crisis is among the most essential factors to accelerate growth and reduce poverty in the country. He also said ADB will continue its partnership with the government, private sector and other stakeholders to accelerate progress in this sector.
The two-day forum, jointly organised by the government and ADB, attracted more than 200 participants including senior government officials, national and international private sector investors, power developers and traders, financiers, development partners, and civil society members.