Law prohibits Nepali Army from investing in hydro projects

Kathmandu, August 6

Nepali Army said that it’s willing to invest money from the Nepali Army Welfare Fund, it is prohibited from doing so according to a provision in the Army Act which states that the fund cannot be invested anywhere as promoter.

At a press conference organised by the Army Headquarters today, army officials informed media that the fund could generate income through share and loan, but it could not invest as a promoter. The Fund, established in 1975 with Rs 12 million, has now accumulated to nearly 34.5 billion after investing in 12 projects and conducting more than a dozen welfare programmes.

According to head of NA’s legal department Major General Hom Kumar Lawati, the Ministry of Energy had itself requested the NA to invest in Hydel projects. “When the ministry knew about the legal hurdle, all stakeholders agreed to amend the law.” Major General Lawati also said that the Bill Committee of the Cabinet had also discussed the issue. “But the matter has not reached any conclusion yet,” he added.

The fund has been invested in educational institutes, micro-finance projects for former and in- service army staffers, hospitals, subsidies loan, residential projects and other income generating works.

NAWF Director Brigadier General Pradip Kumar Adhikari said the fund will construct regional hospitals in Pokhara and Itahari this year, as per its policy of decentralising its service. NAWF will also construct a community health centre in Shankhamul of Kathmandu. He also informed that the NAWF planned to develop residential land for the army staff in Duwakot of Bhaktapur and Chobar of Kirtipur.

The NA Directorate Brigadier General Jhanker Bahadur Kadayat clarified that NAWF was investing for the welfare of the army and was not focused on generating profit. The amount collected from UN peacekeeping missions is the main income source of NAWF. It has major missions in UNIFIL, Syria, Sudan, Congo and Mali, where 4,594 NA staffers have been deployed.