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Nepal plans to set up first Special Economic Zone
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20:39, December 26, 2008

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Five years after the initial announcement, the Nepali government has finally readied a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Bhairahawa in southern Nepal, local website reported on Friday.

But the specific time frame for the SEZ coming into operation remains uncertain, as the government has not yet unveiled the necessary laws, reported myrepublica.com.

It has not enacted a necessary investment- and industry-friendly SEZ law, said the report.

Officials with the project overseeing construction and implementation of the much-talked-about SEZ, said the project office was ready to bring the country's first SEZ into operation by mid-February, 2009.

"We have completed construction work on all needed infrastructure and basic services, and are ready to hand over the space to interested industries in a month," said Jagadishwor Shrestha, chief of the project which is a wing of the Ministry of Industry.

Under land development work at the SEZ site, the project office has already plotted 75 percent of some 34 hectares into different segments, constructed road networks within each plot, developed sewerage and drainage systems, extended electricity and telecommunication lines, and completed an underground water supply system, among other things.

"Investors willing to set up industries in the zone can acquire the land on lease for 30 years, and develop their plants as they wish," said Shrestha, elaborating further that the SEZ in Bhairahawa, some 300 km southwest of Kathmandu, can accommodate as many as 200 medium-size industries.

However, investor zeal and the enthusiasm of the project office over commencing SEZ operations have continued to face a roadblock in the government's failure to enact the SEZ law.

The government, while launching the project, had said it would enact law to lure and protect foreign investments and technology and export-oriented industries to the zone.

The government first conducted a study to set up a special industrial zone in 1983. A program to develop such a zone was first announced 17 years ago. Currently, the SEZ project is executing the government's plan to develop SEZs in four different parts of the country.

Source: Xinhua

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