KATHMANDU, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- The government of Nepal is all set to bring its first special economic zone (SEZ) at Bhairawaha by February, 2014, officials said on Monday.
The construction of this much-talked-about SEZ had begun 12 years ago.
The Ministry of Industry (MoI) which had previously planned to operate the SEZ at Bhairawaha by mid-April this year could not meet its target after the contractor assigned to construct the necessary infrastructure in SEZ failed to complete within agreed time. "The construction of necessary buildings, infrastructures and setting up of other facilities including water treatment plant in the SEZ has been completed," Industry Secretary Krishna Gyanwali told Xinhua on Monday by phone, "If nothing irreversible falls on the way, the first SEZ will come to operation by February next year."
He also said the ministry is now busy preparing norms for setting up factories in SEZ or providing the land for interested manufacturing units in lease. "We are developing a standard in regards to which sort of factories be allowed to operate within SEZ for how long period and on what basis, including others," Gyanwali said, adding that the task will be completed within two weeks.
The ministry has also been preparing expression of interest ( EoI) to be flouted as a formal proposal to ask the interested industries to come within the SEZ boundary."Once we inaugurate the SEZ, we will promptly flout the EoI asking the private sector to come in the SEZ for industrial operation," Yam Kumari Khatiwada, joint secretary at the ministry told Xinhua.
A total of 52 plots have been developed for 200 factories in the Bhairawaha SEZ which is located some 250 km west to Nepal's capital Kathmandu.
The government had first conducted a study to set up a SEZ in 1983. The program was first announced 17 years ago adopting the Chinese model of SEZ and its contribution in industrial growth.
The Industry Ministry also said following the response of the first SEZ, it will bring other three SEZs located in Biratnagar, Panchkhal and Bara by the end of 2014.
The MoI is currently holding feasibility studies to establish SEZs in other places, including Jumla, Kapilvastu, Dhanusha, Siraha, Jhapa, Gorkha and Rautahat. It has already completed a feasibility study in Ratomata and Dhangadhi.
Earlier in the first week of February this year, the government decided to run the SEZ through a SEZ Development Committee after its attempt to introduce a SEZ Act failed due to the absence of parliament.