Kathmandu, July 29

The government has selected a project related to development of an exhibition centre in Butwal as the ‘model project’ for implementation under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

The project was selected by a meeting of the Public Private Partnership steering committee held today.

“With today’s selection, we are now set to conduct detailed feasibility report of the project,” Surya Prasad Acharya, chief of the Economic Policy Analysis Division at the Ministry of Finance (MoF), told The Himalayan Times.

The project’s detailed feasibility report would be prepared by international consulting agency, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India, which was hired by the government to draft Public Private Partnership Policy and Act.

“Based on the report, we will reach out to interested private parties to implement the project under the Public Private Partnership model,” Acharya said, adding, “Implementation of this model project would help the

government to identify legal, regulatory and institutional gaps so that infrastructure projects to be built under Public Private Partnership model in the future do not face hurdles.”

The government had earlier shortlisted five projects for implementation under the Public Private Partnership model and conducted their pre-feasibility studies.

The projects were: development of an exhibition centre and related facilities in Butwal, expansion of tourism training centre in Pokhara, construction of multi-layer car parking facility in Kathmandu, development of mass transit service in Ring Road of Kathmandu and construction of cable car at Swargadwari, Pyuthan.

“Of these projects, we chose the one in Butwal because the Ministry of Urban Development has already provided land required for development of the project to Butwal Municipality on a long-term lease agreement,” Acharya said.

The project is being built on 11.25 hectares of land and will comprise exhibition facility, hospitality facility, amusement park and general facilities.

“The site was earmarked as forest land, and necessary land use clearance has been taken,” says the pre-feasibility report prepared by Deloitte.

“However, environmental clearances, especially those related to deforestation, are yet to be obtained.”

The report also says that the exhibition centre and related facilities can initially be developed in five hectares and extended later.

The government has long been trying to introduce the Public Private Partnership Policy to engage the private sector in the nation building process. This way, the government does not need to necessarily mobilise its own financial resources and expertise to meet every infrastructure need of the country.

This concept is also popular in many developed and developing countries, where the government only plays the role of the facilitator, while the private sector raises funds to build projects like roads, bridges, hydropower plants and transmission lines.

Once completed, these projects are used by the developers for certain years, during which they recoup investment and generate some profit. The projects are then handed over to the government for free and in a good working condition.