Nepal | August 10, 2020

Chinese investment in SEZ yet to be decided

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, November 20

The government has not yet decided over the proposal of two Chinese investors seeking permission to jointly invest in Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Nepal.

Though the SEZ Development Committee had forwarded the proposal of the Chinese investors to Ministry of Industry (MoI) two months back, MoI has not made any decision on their proposal. Rather, MoI wants the Chinese investors to re-submit their proposal citing that their proposal came before the SEZ Act was endorsed by the Parliament and now they should submit a detailed proposal report.

Earlier in September, Lhasa SEZ and Ping An Insurance of China had submitted a proposal to SEZ Development Committee to hold feasibility study of areas for establishing and running a SEZ in Nepal in a joint venture after the SEZ Bill paved way for private sector to establish, operate and manage SEZ. It is learnt that they were interested in developing a SEZ either in Paanchkhal or Simara.

“The Chinese investors have not approached us for the second time after holding a brief discussion on investing in SEZ in Nepal a few months earlier. As they have not submitted a detailed investment proposal, a decision cannot be made at the moment,” said Dinesh Ghimire, joint secretary at MoI, adding that the Chinese investors should now come up with concrete investment plans based on provisions set by SEZ Act.

As per Ghimire, Chinese investors had not submitted concrete investment plans and had not used formal channel to submit proposal.

Informing that both the firms have not reported anything after that, Ghimire said that MoI will soon urge them to submit detailed investment proposal plan.

Earlier, Chandika Prasad Bhatta, executive director of SEZ Development Committee, had said proposal submitted by Chinese investors was feasible, and thus, was forwarded to MoI for approval. He had informed that a memorandum of understanding would be signed with those investors after a green signal from MoI.

However, Bhatta now says that Chinese investors should approach again with a new proposal that fulfils every necessary protocol set by SEZ Act. If approved, Bhatta also hinted that Chinese investors would inject around Rs five billion to develop SEZ in Nepal.

Government plans to set up SEZs in 15 locations across country. After the endorsement of SEZ Act, investors have shown keen interest to establish industries within SEZ as different domestic firms recently booked all available plots in Bhairahawa SEZ. Bhairahawa SEZ is the only zone that has been inaugurated till date.


A version of this article appears in print on November 21, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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