Power conference nod to 13-point programme

Kathmandu, January 23:

The two-day conference on Rural Energy Development concluded today, endorsing a 13-point declaration to address the existing energy crisis in the country.

Representatives of local bodies, government officials from line ministries, energy experts and stakeholders concerned worked out the declaration.

The declaration outlined the need to authorise the local bodies, in coordination with local electricity authority and district chapter of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries, to issue license to small and micro hydel projects of up to 5 MW capacity, make power purchase agreement and fix electricity tariffs.

It raised the issues pertaining to exemption on import taxes, customs duty and VAT while importing construction equipment for power plants to create conducive environment for investment. The declaration also stated that the government should focus on making policy to provide loans to power producers at minimum interest rate and stressed the need to come up with a common strategy for sustainable development of the energy sector.

It also focussed on the equitable distribution of resources -- by prioritising locals, followed by stakeholders, local authorities and central government -- while sharing the benefits and rights. The declaration also expressed commitment to prioritise policies that would mobilise national capital, technology and market so that energy could be supplied within the country. It

also considered joint effort of private sector, local community, cooperatives, local governments and central government — under the private-public partnership policy — to make investment in energy sector.

The declaration also appealed to the government to allocate funds that matches with the District Energy Fund allotted by the local authorities and expressed commitment to formulate strategies to make equitable distribution of responsibilities and resources for energy development. It also expressed commitment to promote environment-friendly energy like ethanol, bio-diesel, bio-gas, briquette, solar, wind as well as community forest and water-shed areas to reduce energy dependency.

It also suggested encouraging the use of electric vehicles by relaxing import taxes and customs duties.

Addressing the conference, Minister for Water Resources Bishnu Poudel said the government supported the local authorities’ joint effort and would implement the positive aspects of the declaration.