Nepal, with its breathtaking landscapes and cultural richness, is facing the harsh impacts of climate change. While global leaders engage in discussions at fancy conferences in COP28 Nepal is standing at the forefront of the battle against climate change. The tripartite approach involving local, provincial, and federal governments is crucial for implementing and enforcing comprehensive policies, with a specific focus on promoting Electric Vehicles (EVs) to foster clean mobility and energy.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is participating in COP28. Despite securing various commitments for funding, the effectiveness of these financial resources hinges on the imperative task of reforming clean energy and electric vehicle policies within Nepal. Simply obtaining funds may prove futile unless our nation addresses and rectifies its internal governance frameworks. In this context, the key lies not just in obtaining green funds, but in devising and implementing robust policies. A pivotal element in this process is the adoption of a tripartite approach involving local, provincial, and federal governments. This collaborative effort is essential for the successful implementation and enforcement of comprehensive policies, particularly those geared toward advancing the cause of clean mobility and energy, with a specific emphasis on promoting Electric Vehicles (EVs).
Local governments serve as the vanguard in the fight against climate change. Initiatives at this level can create a domino effect, inspiring communities to embrace sustainable practices. The promotion of Electric Vehicles (EVs) can commence with practical incentives and tax cuts. For example, offering free and priority parking for EVs in metropolitan areas can significantly boost their adoption.
Moreover, local governments can actively be involved in the development of charging infrastructure, strategically placing charging stations in key locations such as shopping districts and transportation hubs. This proactive approach not only facilitates the practical needs of EV owners but also sends a strong signal about the commitment to sustainable transportation.
Designating iconic places such as Kathmandu Durbar Square, Thamel, and Durbar Marg as EV-only zones is a bold move that not only showcases a commitment to sustainable transportation but also sets a precedent for other regions. These zones not only encourage EV usage but also contribute to the reduction of air pollution in historically significant areas.
Additionally, providing tax breaks to businesses incorporating EVs into their operations not only supports cleaner mobility but also stimulates a positive shift in the business community toward eco-friendly practices. Conducting a robust public awareness campaign is another essential initiative, educating residents about the benefits of EVs and dispelling myths surrounding them. This proactive outreach helps create a well-informed community, fostering a positive attitude toward EV adoption.
Furthermore, implementing training programs for local mechanics and technicians ensures that the workforce is equipped with the skills needed to service and maintain electric vehicles. This initiative not only supports the growing EV market but also creates job opportunities and expertise within the community.
These comprehensive local-level initiatives not only contribute to a reduction in carbon footprints but also create tangible examples of a community actively working toward sustainable development. By combining practical incentives, infrastructure development, awareness campaigns, and training programs, local governments can spearhead a transformative shift toward a more sustainable and environmentally conscious urban landscape.
Provincial push for change
Provincial governments play a crucial role in amplifying the impact of EV-friendly policies. By providing tax breaks on yearly taxes for individuals adopting EVs, provinces can incentivize green choices. Moreover, retrofitting policies need to be customized for each state, considering the diverse needs and challenges faced by different regions. For instance, Madhesh province may require distinct policies compared to Karnali due to differing geographical and climatic conditions.
To attract investors to the EV industry, provinces can engage in healthy competition. Offering incentives such as free land, tax breaks on state taxes, facilitation of access to electricity, and other necessary resources can entice investors to establish EV assembly plants. Implementing subsidies and incentives for EV users not only accelerates the adoption of green technologies but also provides an economic boost to local communities.
This provincial push ensures that the benefits of EV adoption are felt at a grassroots level, contributing to regional development and creating a ripple effect that resonates across the nation.
Competition for sustainable development
One of the significant advantages of a tripartite approach is the healthy competition it fosters among provinces. Each province can strive to provide the best incentives and infrastructure to attract investors in the EV industry. This competition can lead to innovation and efficiency in policy implementation.
Provinces can vie with each other to offer the most attractive package, including free land, tax breaks on provincial taxes, and efficient facilitation of essential resources. The goal should be to create an environment where investors see the potential for growth and sustainability in each province.
Moreover, this competition can extend to the implementation of EV-friendly policies, such as subsidies and incentives for users. By doing so, provinces not only contribute to the national effort to combat climate change but also establish themselves as leaders in sustainable development.
Federal facilitation for sustainable change
At the federal level, the government holds the key to shaping policies that govern import duties on Electric Vehicles (EVs). By strategically implementing import duty laws, the federal government can make EVs more affordable, encouraging a broader segment of the population to embrace cleaner transportation. This move can significantly impact the accessibility of EVs, making them a viable option for a larger demography.
In conjunction with import duty reforms, a robust homologation policy is essential. Establishing clear and favorable homologation standards for electric vehicles ensures that imported EV models comply with safety and environmental regulations. A well-crafted homologation policy not only guarantees the quality and suitability of EVs for the local market but also streamlines the importation process, reducing barriers to entry for manufacturers.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policies also need to align with the vision of a sustainable future. The federal government can play a pivotal role in attracting FDI in the EV industry, fostering economic growth and technological advancements. By offering incentives and a supportive regulatory environment, the government can encourage both domestic and international companies to invest in the development, manufacturing, and distribution of electric vehicles.
Furthermore, reforming tax laws to promote public vehicles over private ones can be a game-changer. Incentivizing the adoption of electric public transportation, such as buses and taxis, through tax breaks or subsidies, underscores the importance of collective responsibility in the fight against climate change. This approach not only accelerates the transition to greener transportation options but also contributes to a significant reduction in overall emissions.
Nepal stands at a pivotal juncture in its fight against climate change. A tripartite approach involving local, provincial, and federal governments is essential for success. From providing incentives at the local level to tailoring retrofitting policies at the provincial level and shaping import duty laws at the federal level, each tier of government has a unique role to play. The competition among provinces to attract investors and promote sustainable practices can further accelerate the transition to clean mobility and energy.
In the face of global climate challenges, Nepal has the opportunity to become a beacon of change, showcasing how a united effort at all levels of government can drive the transformation toward a sustainable and eco-friendly future. The time for action is now, and through EV-friendly policies, Nepal can pave the way for a greener and cleaner tomorrow by attracting investors from all over the world.
(The author holds an engineering degree from USA , and is an energy entrepreneur currently working in clean energy and mobility sector in Nepal)