November 19: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai has been saying that the government will initiate the process of constructing Nijgadh International Airport within a month by mid-December. However, the government is yet to issue Request for Proposal (RFP) to this effect.
The government had shortlisted Switzerland’s Zurich Airport International AG in September to construct the much-hyped Nijgadh International Airport under public-private partnership model.
The 40th meeting of the Investment Board chaired by Prime Minister KP Oli had shortlisted the Swiss company on September 23. The government has also decided to seek extensive details of proposal from the company, which operates Zurich Airport and Bangalore International Airport.
The Investment Board Nepal had shortlisted Zurich Airport International AG for the project saying that it met all the criteria set by the government.
Chairman of the board Maha Prasad Adhikari had said back then that the board will issue Request for Proposal to construct the airport within two months. Zurich Airport International AG will have to present its detailed proposal within 45 days once the board issues the Request for Proposal. But with just one week left for the two months to elapse, the government is yet to issue RFP. It is still not certain when will the government issue RFP.
A source at the Investment Board informed New Business Age that it would take at least two to three weeks to issue the Request for Proposal.
“The team formed to issue the RFP is in the process of amending the initial draft,” said the source requesting anonymity.
The source further said that the board requires the proposed airport’s master plan to prepare the Request for Proposal but the ministry concerned has shown lack of interest in providing it to the board. This has caused the inordinate delay in issuing the RFP, said the source.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said that the board hasn’t informed the ministry anything about this issue. Officials at the ministry also dismissed the board’s claim that the master plan is a pre-requisite for the RFP.
The estimated cost of constructing the airport is US$ 3 billion.