China to provide grant for infrastructure, polls

Kathmandu, July 24:

China has agreed to provide 50 million Yuan (about Rs 432.5 million) grant to Nepal for the construction of Syafrubesi-Rasuwagadhi road, which will open the second trading route with the northern neighbour. China has also agreed to provide logistic support for the constituent assembly elections scheduled for November 22.

Nepal and China today signed an agreement to this effect at the end of the 10th meeting of Nepal-China Inter-Governmental Economic and Trade Committee (IGETC) held in Kathmandu.

Finance Secretary Vidhyadhar Mallik and Chinese assistant commerce minister Wang Chao signed the accord on behalf of their respective governments, late in the evening today. Under the economic and technical cooperation, China has also agreed to provide mobile container and X-ray installation at the customs points.

The visiting Chinese assistant minister said that China would continue its support to Nepal in its socio-economic development endeavours. “New foundation has been laid for strengthening economic and technical cooperation between the two countries. For this, the meeting has been highly successful in identifying new areas of cooperation,” he added.

Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat commented that such a meeting would further strengthen the bilateral relations as well as economic ties.

Talking to the media persons, finance secretary Mallik informed that various matters related to trade, investment, economic and technical cooperation as well as other subjects of mutual interests were discussed during the meeting. “The Chinese delegation has assured us to look into all issues and requests of Nepal,” he said. China has agreed to form a joint committee led by chief of customs of Nepal and Tibet to finalise on a proposal tabled by Nepal to grant duty free access to 498 export commodities to the Chinese market, Mallik said adding that Nepal also requested a soft loan in the tune of $200 million. According to him, China has taken positively Nepal’s request to double the annual technical and economic cooperation being provided to Nepal. China provides about Rs 800 million grant to Nepal every year.

Likewise, Nepal also asked for China’s support in major infrastructure development projects including the construction of outer Ring Road, regional airport in Pokhara, Upper Trishuli ‘B’ and extension of railway up to Nepal border, said Mallik.

“In the investment front, the Chinese delegation enquired about visa processing, land acquisition and investment climate here in Nepal. They have floated an idea of setting up a joint venture bank for the investment in mega projects,” he said.

Rs 8 billion subsidised loan

KATHMANDU: China has pledged a subsidised loan of Rs 8 billion to help Nepal jump-start its productivity and industrial production.

Visiting Chinese assistant commerce minister Wang Chao announced this following his meeting with the finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat.

Finance minister Dr Mahat welcomed the gesture but added that Nepal has not yet decided whether to accept the Chinese offer.

During the meeting, finance minister Mahat said that Nepal was expecting assistance from Chinese government in the infrastructure development as the country is in the post-conflict transition. — HNS