Khammoune Province, Lao PDR, December 9, 2010 — Following years of consultation, planning, construction, and tireless work, the Nam Theun 2 Project has been officially inaugurated. The inauguration ceremony took place in Khammoune Province, Lao PDR on December 9th. The Lao President Choummaly Sayasone, Thai Prime Minster Abhisit Vejjajiva, as well as President of the Asian Development Bank Haruhiko Kuroda and World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati joined representatives of international organizations, private companies and diplomatic missions at the Nam Theun 2 Power Station to participate in the ceremony.
World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati called Nam Theun 2 “an aid to capacity building and revenue management.” She said the project has been “transformational for Laos and served as a show case on how large industrial projects can contribute to socially and environmentally sustainable development, and that private sector and public sector can work together to support environmental protection.”
Since the start of commercial operations in April, the Government of Lao PDR has received about US$5.6 million from the sale of electricity generated by the Nam Theun 2 hydropower facility. So far about US$2 million has been channeled into spending on education in poor districts; US$1.7 million for rural roads; US$1 million for public health; with the rest of the funds devoted to rural electrification and the environment. The World Bank is working closely with Government on the revenue management program as part of a broader public financial management strengthening program.
President of Lao PDR Choummaly Sayasone expressed his gratitude to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other financial institutions and development agencies for their ongoing work on this project. “The people of Laos take great pride in witnessing the Nam Theun 2 Project as one of the most important projects ever developed in the country,” said Mr. Saysone. “It also testifies [to the fact] that the right approach has been taken for cooperation and joint investment between the public and private sectors, with an appropriate planning and resettlement process, concern over environmental protection and fair distribution of benefits generated by the project.”
The Nam Theun 2 Project has helped the country increase public spending on poverty reduction and environmental protection, while providing significant support for the economy. While NT2 has already achieved impressive results, there is still much to be done, especially in securing improved livelihoods on the Plateau, strengthening watershed protection and enforcement, and establishing stronger regulatory structures. The World Bank will stay closely involved with the Government and the Nam Theun 2 Power Company in the implementation of the project in years to come.