Government Preparing to Amend Laws through Ordinances to Attract Investors

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Government Preparing to Amend Laws through Ordinances to Attract Investors

April 22: The government is preparing to amend various laws through ordinances with the objective to facilitate the use of land beyond the limit for various commercial purposes and to simplify the use of forest areas.

The government proceeded ahead to amend about a dozen laws through ordinances after it failed to amend the laws through the regular parliamentary process due to political instability and lack of inter-ministerial coordination.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been saying that these laws will be amended before the Third Investment Summit scheduled to be held on April 28 and 29.

Under Secretary of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Jhaindra Prasad Guragai says that the ordinances will be finalized soon and sent to the cabinet for approval.

“The final drafts of the ordinances have been already prepared. Work is being done to present them in the next cabinet meeting," he said.

According to the information provided by another high-ranking official at the Ministry of Law, in the draft to amend the Land Act, 2021 proposes companies to hold land in excess to the existing limit and to allow the sale of land within the limits specified in the law to pay debts and obligations.

Details obtained by New Business Age state that if an industry, establishment, company or organization needs more land than the limit set by the Land Act, 2021, it can submit an application to the Government of Nepal through the relevant ministry for approval within one year of its opening.

A provision included in the draft bill proposes that if a company needs more land than the limit to expand its business, it can purchase additional land with the prior approval of the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation. Despite objection from the Ministry of Finance, a provision has been included in the draft bill that allows companies to mortgage the land bought and take loans from banks.

Secretary Mukunda Prasad Niraula, who was recently transferred from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies to the Office of the Vice President, told New Business Age that the Ministry of Finance expressed concerns that the excess land purchased by companies could be fragmented and sold if the provision for allowing land in excess of the limit is passed.

According to the amendment proposal made in the Forest Act 2070, if mining is required to find out the existence of minerals within the national forest, the Government of Nepal can give approval to use the forest area to extract such minerals on condition that there is no significant adverse effect on the environment during such mining process.

Similarly, by amending the Industrial Enterprises Act, 2076, the government has also proposed provisions for the promotion of start-up enterprises or businesses. The ordinance proposes the establishment and operation of enterprise development centers at three levels of government.

By amending the Special Economic Zones Act, 2073, the ordinance proposes adding a provision that allows industries to be relocated and operated in the Special Economic Zones.

By amending the Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act, 2075, the government has made an attempt to pave the way for the transfer of technology from Nepal to foreign countries as well.

The ordinance proposes transfer of patent, design, trademark, goodwill, technical specification, use of technical knowledge (franchise), formula, process, usage license between an industry or company established and operating in Nepal and an industry, firm or company located abroad.

"Regardless of what is written in the existing law, an industry or company established and operating in Nepal can transfer technology to an industry, firm or company located abroad," the ordinance proposes, "Foreign currency received for the transfer of technology must be remitted in Nepal with the permission of Nepal Rastra Bank."

To transfer technology, an industry, firm or company may open its branch office or unit in the foreign country with the permission of the department.

According to an official of the Ministry of Law, the proposals are being sent to the Cabinet. The law branch there can also make necessary amendments after taking the opinion of the law ministry. The ordinance that the government is going to bring will be implemented as a law after it is authenticated by the president. There is a constitutional provision that the ordinance must be passed by both houses within 60 days of the commencement of the new session of the Federal Parliament.

Aiming at the investment summit, the Law Reform Committee formed under the coordination of Prime Minister's Office Secretary Ek Narayan Aryal suggested to amend a dozen laws for policy, structural and procedural reforms. The committee proposed amendments to a dozen laws and regulations including the Industrial Enterprises Act (2076), Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act (2075), Special Economic Zone Act (2073), Forest Act (2076). Similarly, the committee also recommended amendment to the National Parks and Wildlife Protection Act (2029), Land Act (2021), Land Acquisition Act (2034), Environment Protection Act (2076), Electronic Transactions Act (2063), Nepal Civil Aviation Authority Act (2053), Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Regulations (2077) and Forest Regulations (2079).



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