OIBN intensifies handover farm projects to provinces

KATHMANDU: Office of the Investment Board Nepal (OIBN) has started consultations with concerned provincial officials and developers to handover the Integrated Agriculture Projects to respective provinces. OIBN organized meetings with high-ranking officials of Province 1 and Province 5 on 19th July and 22nd July respectively, to discuss on the ways to move forward the handover process.

At a virtual meeting, OIBN interacted with Province 1 officials led by its Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Sher Dhan Rai on handing over the project which is going to be implemented in Urlabari, Morang. The project covers programs including establishing agriculture infrastructures such as cold storages, warehouses, and processing centres. The cost of the project is estimated at USD 5.45 million.

Other officials present at the meeting on behalf of the Province 1 is Honorable State Minister for Agriculture Mr. Ram Bahadur Magar, Honorable Vice-chairman of Province Planning Commission Mr. Subodh Pyakurel and CEO of Province Investment Authority Mr. Saroj Koirala.

Speaking at the meeting Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Rai said the project will have a great impact in agriculture transformation in Province 1 if the project is implemented successfully. Honorable Province State Minister Mr. Magar the project is selected in line with the province’s policy priority. Honorable Province Planning Commission Vice Chairman Mr. Pyakurel the proposed project would link the province’s farm sector to larger national and international market. Province Investment Authority’s CEO Mr. Koirala said the Authority was committed to moving forward the project bringing all stakeholder agencies on board.

Similarly, OIBN organized a  meeting with Province 5 officials on handover of Integrated Agriculture Infrastructure Project in Tilottama, Manigram. The program organized on 22nd July was attended by senior officials of the Province led by Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Shankar Pokharel.

Nepal Warehousing Company Public LTD. in association with Probiotech Industries Pvt. Ltd. (Nimbus) and Lambton Agricultural Infrastructure Ltd. Canada in association with DG Market Nepal Pvt. Ltd is the developer of the project. Mr. Ananda Bagaria represented developer company at both meetings.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Mr. Pokharel said such huge commercial agriculture project unlocked the market for high-value farm products stating that the province government was committed to supporting farmers with subsidies and other incentives.

On both occasions, OIBN’s Joint Secretary Mr. Balaram Rijyal said OIBN would continue to extend its facilitation and technical support to the province in the process of project implementation after the handover. On the occasion, developer’s representative gave a presentation on technical aspects of the project. OIBN’s Joint Secretary (technical) Ms Mon Devi Shrestha, Under Secretary Mr. Lekhanath Neupane, Senior Divisional Engineer Mr. Jaya Ram Prajapati and other IBN officials as well as concerned consulting staff were present at the both meeting.  Mr. Ananda Bagaria, CEO of Nimbuss represented project developer company at the meetings.

Before formally handing over the projects, MoU between IBN and the province is necessary and then a call for Request for Proposal (RFP), MoU between developer and the province and Project Development Agreement will follow.

The project was showcased during Nepal Investment Summit 2019. Nepal Warehousing Company Public Ltd in association with Probiotech Industries Pvt. Ltd. (nimbus) qualified for implementing the project. The 42nd meeting of Investment Board Nepal (IBN) directed OIBN to handover the project to respective provinces stating that the project beyond the mandate of IBN.  As per Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Investment Act 2019, project worth Rs 6 billion or above falls under the IBN’s jurisdiction. However, even after the handover of the project, OIBN is responsible to extend technical support as well as necessary facilitation in the process of implementation.