Kathmandu, Aug 10 : Nepal and Bangladesh have agreed to work together in the development of the energy sector.
The two countries today signed a Memorandum of Understanding on power exchange cooperation which was much talked-about for long.
Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun and Minister of State for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources of Bangladesh, Nasrul Hamid, signed on the MoU.
The signing of the MoU and meeting between high officials of the two countries comes at a time when Bangladesh has been showing interest on joint investment in the energy sector in Nepal since long.
As per the MoU, a joint executive committee at the Energy Secretary level and the joint technical group at the Joint Secretary level would be formed for bilateral collaboration. The two bodies would convene their meetings within the coming two months and determine their future course of action.
Minister Pun said the Bangladesh government has agreed on investing at the government and private sector levels.
"A significant opportunity is available for collaboration in Nepal's energy and water resources sector. We have paved the way for that by signing on an important MoU to that connection," he said.
The Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation said that the government of Bangladesh has become ready to immediately purchase 500 megawatts power from Nepal as per the MoU.
Among other issues incorporated in the Memorandum of Understanding include joint investment in both the countries, purchase of power generated in Nepal by Bangladesh and formation of high-level mechanism at government level.
Minister Pun shared that the meeting had a crucial discussion on the agenda of investment modality in Nepal's hydropower.
Earlier too, Bangladesh had announced that it was ready to purchase 5,000 MW electricity from Nepal. Likewise, Nepal has already signed bilateral agreements with India and China on energy cooperation.
In a bid to expand Nepal's energy market to regional level, the government signed the MoU with Bangladesh.
On the other, Minister of State for Electricity, Energy and Mines Hamid said that his country had come up with the move to cherish the dream of his people and address growing energy needs in his country.
The government and private sector of both the countries will work together to tap Nepal's umpteen potential in hydropower, he noted, terming today's agreement signing a matter of historic importance.
Informing that his country has set a target to graduate to the league of developed countries by 2041, he said they would need around 60,000 MW power to meet the target.
Nepal is an appropriate alternative source for this, he added.
"We require 24,000MW electricity by 2021. Now, Bangladesh has the economic growth rate of 7.2 percent and has set the target to increase this to 10 percent by next year," he asserted.
High-ranking government officials including Energy Secretary Anupraj Upadhyay and joint secretary Dinesh Kumar Ghimire had represented Nepal while senior officials including State Minister Hamid, Bangladesh Ambassador for Nepal Mashfee Binte Shams stood for Bangladesh on the occasion.
Two countries to hold discussions with India
In a press meet after signing the MoU, Minister Pun and Bangladeshi State Minister Hamid shared that they will hold talks with India on the issues of transmission line.
It is stated that the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will hold talks regarding the issues with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in BIMSTEC meeting to be held in Kathmandu on August 30.
Earlier, power trade agreement (PTA) has been held with India. Minister Pun further expected that the electricity generated in Nepal could be exported to Bangladesh developing the SAARC level grid which was already signed during the 18th SAARC summit.
It may be noted that the Minister duo had discussed on working together in energy sector and Bangladesh had readied to purchase electricity from Nepal and for the purpose Indian route was essential.
The Second Asia and Pacific Energy Forum (APEF 2) held from 3 to 5 April in Bangkok, with stakeholders had also reached the agreement in this regard.
The conference was successful for reviewing regional progress made towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) on achieving universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy centred in the region.