KATHMANDU: State-owned Hydroelectricity Investment and Development Company Ltd (HIDCL) is mulling over developing a hydroelectric project by mobilising funds from Nepalis working in the Gulf and countries like Malaysia.
The idea is being floated at a time when many are complaining that money sent by Nepalis working abroad is not being used in development works.
“We’ve already selected a 300-megawatt project for the purpose, which is viable and can be implemented immediately,” HIDCL CEO Deepak Rauniyar told us, without disclosing the name of the project. “We’ll soon hold a meeting with various stakeholders and finalise the plan on pooling resources for it.”
The project, dubbed ‘Remit Hydro’, is estimated to cost around Rs 40 to 45 billion, as per HIDCL. Of this amount, around Rs 15 billion would be mobilised through equity financing, meaning shareholders will have to chip in this amount. The remaining amount would be borrowed from banks and financial institutions.
The major equity partners in the project would be the government, Nepal Electricity Authority, HIDCL, remittance senders and locals residing in vicinity of the project site. Later, more shares will be floated among the public through an initial public offering, Rauniyar said.
“Since the project is aimed at roping in funds of overseas workers, we are planning to issue 25 per cent to 35 per cent of the shares to remittance senders, especially those based in the Gulf and countries like Malaysia,” Rauniyar informed, adding, “They won’t have to fork out the amount upfront and can make contributions from monthly savings over a period of certain years. This amount would then be converted into shares.”
Upon making this investment, overseas workers would be entitled to dividend for a period of 30 years.
“In this regard, we are planning to build a pension fund, so that workers who return home from abroad and family members of those still in foreign lands can benefit,” Rauniyar said.
Although the plan sounds ambitious, HIDCL is hopeful that it will be able to raise required funds if campaigns are launched to generate awareness about benefits of investing in the project.
“We are planning to appoint remittance companies as strategic partners to launch promotional campaigns as they are directly in contact with Nepali migrant workers who send money home at regular intervals,” Rauniyar said, adding, “Overseas workers do not stand to lose from this project.”
To safeguard money that overseas workers have contributed, HIDCL is planning to request government to create a ‘back-up’ fund so that overseas workers ‘do not lose their investment in case of untoward circumstances’.
HIDCL, a special purpose vehicle created to extend credit to hydroelectricity project and power transmission line developers, had earlier floated a plan to create an ‘equity fund’ to pool funds from retail and institutional investors for the purpose of buying stakes in various hydroelectricity projects.
• Rs 15bn of the total project cost, estimated at Rs 40bn to Rs 45bn, to be mobilised through equity financing
• 25pc to 35pc of shares to be issued to remittance senders
• Upon making investment, overseas workers entitled to dividend for 30 years
• A pension fund to be set up, so workers who return home from abroad and family members of those still in foreign lands can benefit
• Remittance companies to be appointed as strategic partners to launch promotional campaigns
• HIDCL to request govt to create a ‘back-up’ fund, so investment of overseas workers is safe
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