News Brief

Sebon Allows 8 Companies to Operate Venture Capital Business
Securities Board of Nepal (Sebon) has granted licenses to operate venture capital business to eight companies.

NMB Capital Limited, Laxmi Capital Market Limited, NIC Asia Capital Limited, Prabhu Capital Limited, Nabil Investment Banking Limited, NIBL Ace Capital Limited, Avasar Equity Fund Limited and Global Equity Fund have been permitted for venture capital operations.

NHPC and PTC India Ink Deal for Sale of Power from West Seti & SR-6 Projects
India’s state-owned NHPC Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding with energy trading solutions company PTC India Limited for the sale of power to be generated from the proposed 750MW West Seti and 450MW Seti River (SR)-6 projects in Nepal.

According to a press statement issued by India’s Ministry of Power, PTC shall purchase the contracted capacity from NHPC from the date of commercial operation of the projects for onward sale to the state utilities, power distribution companies, and bulk consumers on a long-term basis in India and neighboring countries.
PTC shall also endeavor to sell any untied capacity on a medium or short-term basis on power exchanges, according to the statement.

Nepal has awarded the much-hyped West Seti and Seti River projects in western Nepal to India through a negotiation window, nearly four years after China pulled out.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Investment Board Nepal and NHPC Limited on August 18 to develop the two joint storage projects totaling 1,200MW.

Bangladesh asks India for Passage to Buy Nepal’s Energy
Bangladesh has requested India for a power transmission corridor to import electricity generated in Nepal. Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who wrapped up her four-day official visit to India on Thursday, took up the matter with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, seeking New Delhi’s permission to use the Indian territory for power transmission.

“It was agreed to strengthen sub-regional cooperation in the power sector. The Bangladesh side requested for import of power from Nepal and Bhutan through India,” read the Bangladesh-India joint statement issued on Wednesday. The Indian side is said to have responded that the guidelines for the same are already in place in India.

The energy ministry of India prepared the Guidelines for Import/Export (Cross Border) of Electricity-2018, which could be used for the trade of power between Nepal and Bangladesh, Indian authorities reportedly assured the Bangladeshi delegation.

The two countries agreed to forge bilateral and multilateral agreements for international electricity connectivity, according to the statement.

World Bank’s USD 140 Million Loan for Digital Nepal Acceleration (DNA) Project  
The government has accepted a concessional loan of Rs 17 billion from the World Bank for the Digital Nepal Acceleration Project. The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on June 16 approved USD 140 million for the Digital Nepal Acceleration (DNA) Project to expand access to broadband and engage more people in the digital economy.

The project will support the implementation of the Digital Nepal Framework, the country’s digital economy strategy that was announced by the Government in 2019. The project will improve access to high-quality and affordable broadband services, especially for people and businesses in rural areas.

India to Grant Nepal access to Mundhra and Dhamra Ports
Under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the Narendra Modi government has decided that it will now allow Nepal to export and import goods from two of India’s strategic ports — Mundra Port in Gujarat and Dhamra Port in Odisha — under the yet-to-be-revised transit treaty, negotiations for which are going on.
Access to the ports for international trade has been a long-pending demand by Nepal, which had been pushing India for such an upgradation in both the trade as well transit treaties that were signed decades ago. Currently, Nepal is allowed to use only the ports of Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.

India to grant Nepal access to two key ports in Gujarat & Odisha under trade, transit treaties
Under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, the Narendra Modi government has decided that it will now allow Nepal to export and import goods from two of India’s strategic ports — Mundra Port in Gujarat and Dhamra Port in Odisha — under the yet-to-be-revised transit treaty, negotiations for which are going on, reported Indian news portal

This has been a long-pending demand by Nepal, which had been pushing India for such an upgradation in both the trade as well transit treaties that were signed decades ago.

Currently, Nepal is allowed to use only the ports of Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.

NMB Bank secures USD 25 million in Clean Energy Funding 
NMB Bank has secured a first-of-its-kind USD 25 million climate finance facility from British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution. The loan facility is expected to support the development of the bank’s climate finance eligible assets, boosting NMB bank’s financing capacity for hydropower and other renewable energy projects.

The deal comes at a time when the domestic power industry is grappling with a shortage of liquidity and funding sources. The investment is expected to boost NMB’s capacity to grow its renewable energy and hydropower portfolio.

Triveni Group to Assemble Royal Enfield in Nepal
Triveni Group is going to assemble Royal Enfield motorcycles in Nepal. The group has already registered the company for motorcycle assembling. Media reports suggest that TG Auto Group Pvt Ltd has been registered with the Department of Industry for the assembly of motorcycles.

Triveni Group’s subsidiary Alfa Automotive Pvt Ltd is the official dealer of Royal Enfield in Nepal. The group has proposed to invest Rs 380 million for the motorcycle assembling plant to be established in Jitpur, Bara. The group plans to assemble 8,000 motorcycles annually.

B’desh to Import 50 MW Electricity from Nepal
Bangladesh has expressed its readiness to import 50 MW of electricity from Nepal. This agreement was reached at the energy secretary-level Joint Steering Committee (JSC) meeting of the two countries held in Kathmandu on August 25.

Both countries have also agreed to hold tripartite discussions with India as Indian land has to be used to export Nepal’s electricity to Bangladesh.
Since a tripartite agreement between Nepal, Bangladesh and India is required for the supply of electricity, the secretaries have also decided to request India for a tripatriate meeting.

According to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Madhu Prasad Bhetuwal, a meeting of Nepal Electricity Authority, Bangladesh Power Development Board, and India’s NVVN will be held soon for this purpose.

The secretary-level meeting also recommended the signing of a Power Trade Agreement (PTA) between Nepal and Bangladesh.

Imports Decline by 12.90% in the First month of FY 2022/23
Nepal’s imports have declined by 12.90 percent in the first month (Shrawan) of the current fiscal year. According to the latest foreign trade statistics released by the Department of Customs on Tuesday, Nepal imported goods worth Rs 131.28 billion in the first month of FY2022/23. The country had imported goods worth Rs 157.3 billion during the same period of FY2021/22.

However, the country’s exports declined by 28.68 percent in the first month of the current fiscal year. Nepal exported goods worth 14.8 billion in Shrawan 2079 compared to Rs 20.76 billion in Shrawan 2078.

UK Sign MoU with Nepal to Recruit Nepali Healthcare Professionals 
Nepal and the United Kingdom have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to recruit Nepali healthcare professionals in the UK’s health sector. Labor Secretary Eaknarayan Aryal and British Ambassador to Nepal Nicola Pollitt signed the MoU on Monday. The signing of the MoU has paved the way for Nepali nurses to work in the UK’s healthcare system.

The MoU has established the G2G bilateral agreement to recruit Nepali healthcare professionals to work in the UK’s health sector. Once selected, Nepali healthcare professionals will receive equal rights, privileges, protection, and dignity as health professionals from the UK. The Department of Foreign Employment will work with the Department of Health and Social Care, UK, and its designated entity to undertake the recruitment process. The selected professional will not incur any fees for the recruitment.

In November 2021, the UK government expressed interest to provide jobs to 10,000 Nepali nurses. And, in January 2022, both countries agreed to sign a labor pact after reaching an understanding to send workers from Nepal to the UK after signing the labor agreement.

Commercial Banks Spent 47 billion in Staff Salaries Last FY
Nepali commercial banks spent Rs 57.72 billion on their employees’ salaries and bonuses in the last fiscal year. The banks’ HR expenses grew by 10.26 percent in FY2021/22. In FY2020/21, banks spent Rs 52.34 billion on salaries and bonuses.

According to the data of Nepal Rastra Bank, NIC Asia Bank has the highest staff expenditure. The bank spent Rs 4.54 billion in the last fiscal year.

The Global IME Bank ranks second in terms of staff expenses spending Rs 3.40 billion in FY 2021/22. Two government-owned banks – Rastriya Banijya Bank and Agriculture Development Bank are ranked third and fourth with expenses amounting to Rs 3.36 billion and Rs 3.32 billion, respectively, on their employees.

Among the commercial banks, Century Commercial Bank has the lowest staff expenses. In FY 2021/22, the bank spent Rs 1.25 billion.

Margin Loans Declined by 24.3% in Last FY
Margin loans issued by banks and financial institutions (BFIs) have declined by Rs 25.77 billion in the last one year. According to Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), BFIs’ exposure to margin lending decreased by 24.3 percent in FY 2021/22.

BFIs disbursed such loans totaling Rs 106.28 billion by the end of FY 2020/21 which came down to Rs 80.5 billion in mid-July 2022. According to Nepal Rastra Bank, margin loans above Rs 10 million have decreased by about 37 percent. As per the NRB, the BFIs’ margin loans above Rs 10 million stood at Rs 46.57 billion in mid-July 2022 compared to Rs 73.53 billion in mid-July 2021.

Similarly, BFIs’ exposure to margin loans from Rs 5 million to Rs 10 million also declined by 12 percent in the last fiscal year.

Govt Revokes License of Nepal Satellite Telecom
The government has also revoked the license of Nepal Satellite Telecom (Hello Nepal). The Nepal Satellite belongs to controversial businessman Ajaya Raj Sumargi who is known as a confidant of CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. After the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) scrapped its license on November 26, 2021, Sumargi approached the government for review. According to sources at the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC), the review was forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Office which accepted the decision taken by the NTA. Now the door is open for other telecom service providers to get the frequency used by the Nepal Satellite.

The NTA had scrapped the Nepal Satellite’s license after it failed to pay the arrears even within the extended deadline given by the government. Earlier, the NTA had decided to revoke the license of the company on August 2, 2019. Then the Nepal Satellite approached the government for review against the NTA decision.
Based on the company’s request, the Cabinet meeting of January 6, 2020, reversed the NTA decision. The government had given a deadline to the company to clear all the remaining arrears in five installments in five years, at a rate of one installment per year, starting from mid-July of FY2020.

The NTA has moved ahead in the process of scrapping the license after the company did not pay the remaining arrears.

Budhi Gandaki Jalvidyut Company to Build the 1,200 MW Reservoir Project
The government has established the Budhigandaki Jalvidyut Company Limited for the development of the 1,200 MW Budhi Gandaki Hydropower Project with a paid-up capital of Rs 20 billion.

The government in the current fiscal year’s federal budget had decided to develop the Budhigandaki Project on a company model. Accordingly, the Cabinet meeting on June 27 decided to establish a company to develop the much-talked-about project.

Earlier, on April 7, the Cabinet meeting had decided to build the reservoir project with domestic investment by scrapping the license awarded to the Chinese company China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC). The budget has also mentioned that the project will be constructed from internal sources.

So far, the government has distributed compensation worth Rs 40 billion to the locals affected by the project. More than Rs 70 billion has already been collected through Nepal Oil Corporation by imposing infrastructure tax for the project on sales of fuel.

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