Biznews April 2015

  23 min 2 sec to read

First Indo-Nepal Friendship Motor Rally
The first Indo-Nepal Friendship Motor Rally which was flagged off at Puri, Odisha on February 27 concluded at lawns of India Gate on March 8. According to a press release by the Press Information Bureau, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Government of India, twenty four teams and about 90 participants from India and Nepal covered 3060 Km during the ten-day rally in both countries. The rally aimed at strengthening bilateral relations between India and Nepal and spreading message of road safety, the press release said. 
The participants of the rally were felicitated on the occasion. A display of vintage cars was also organised at India Gate to mark the occasion. The route of the Rally was as follows: Puri, Konark, Dhauli, Bhubaneswar, Baripada, Rairangpur (Odisha); Jamshedpur, Ranchi (Jharkhand); Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Bakhtiyarpur, Patna, Muzaffarpur, Forbesganj, Jogbani (Bihar); Biratnagar, Dharan, Bardibas, Dhulikhel, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Lumbini, Dhangadhi (Nepal); New Delhi. 
The 2nd round of Indo-Nepal Friendly Motor Rally started on 5th March 2015 from the premises of the National Sports Council, Tripureshowr. With the slogan “For Nature, Adventure and Culture”, the rally concluded on 8th March.
The rally was jointly organized by Nepal Automobiles Sports Association (NASA) and Kalinga Motor Sports Club of India. The 1st round of the rally had started on 27 Feb from Puri of Odisha, India and concluded at Dhulikhel, Nepal, on March 2. The rally had entered Nepal through the Jogbani boarder point. 
The second round of the rally was flagged off jointly by the Minister of Youth and Sports, Purushottam Paudel and Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae. 
Kathmandu-Varanashi Bus Service
Meanwhile, the Kathmandu-Varanashi-Kathmandu bus service started on March 5. The bus service was flagged off  by Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation, Bimalendra Nidhi and Indian Ambassador Rae at Dasrath Stadium located at Tripureshwr. The bus will follow the route Kathmandu-Bhairahawa-Sunauli-Ajamgadh and will take 12 hours to cover the 600km distance. The fare of the bus service has been fixed at INR 1300. 
Public Campuses Outside Regulatory Framework
Most public campuses in Nepal are not registered at any government body and are running outside the ambit of any regulatory body. To get legal status, any company or organization should be officially registered at some government body. But as the public campuses are not registered at any regulatory bodies, they are not accountable to anyone. This has resulted in various financial irregularities and other distortions in public campuses.
As per the existing rules, social organizations need to be registered with the District Administration Office. Similarly, companies need to be registered at the Company Registrar’s Office. However, most of the more than 1085 public campuses in the country are running only on the basis of their affiliations with various universities. 
People who are running +2 colleges can easily get affiliation from universities. The operators of public campuses regard this as the official registration. Central President of Nepal Public Campus Association, Ishowri Gautam says such campuses do not need to be registered at any other institution apart from taking affiliation from a univerity.
“Public campuses are not under the supervision of the Ministry of Education,” said Education Secretary Bishwa Prakash Pandit adding that such colleges do not receive any fund from the government directly. 
The public campuses do not maintain any accounts as per the existing practices. Their accounts are not audited as required for other organizations and companies. This has resulted into various types of corruption in public campuses.
Debt Recovery Tribunal to Form Monitoring Committee
The Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) is to form a committee to monitor the effective implementation of its decisions. Its chairman Sher Jung Karki claimed that the committee would also help in the expediting DRT’s tasks and also in making them more transparent. “The committee will continuously monitor and ensure that the DRT decisions are implemented effectively,” he said. Along with that the committee will be also responsible for monitoring the state of recovery and prepare monthly progress reports, which will be act as basis for DRT’s annual report.
The committee will have five members and will be coordinated by either a banking member or account member, Karki informed.
Property Transfer Crucial in Federal System
As the country prepares to adopt the federal system of governance, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) has organized a workshop on the fiscal principles and decentralized taxation system in federal set-up. In the two-day workshop organized on March 1 and 2 with the support of GIZ, the German cooperation agency, participants discussed the features and principles of such taxation system, including the redistribution of revenue and expenditure in the federal set-up. 
“Issues like the collection and distribution of revenue and transfer of property will be very crucial in the federal set-up,” said FNCCI President Pradeep Jung Pandey, while addressing the workshop, “Such programmes will help to prepare policies for the future. FNCCI’s Tax and Revenue Committee Chairman Saurav Jyoti said that the Federation will give continuity to such programmes in the future. 
Detailed information about the existing taxation systems in federalized countries like Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Spain, France, America, and India was provided during the workshop. A total of 35 persons including the district and municipality chambers representatives, lawyers, economists among others participated in the workshop. FNCCI’s Senior Vice President Pashupati Murarka, Vice President Dinesh Shrestha, Vice Chairman of Tax and Revenue committee of FNCCI, Bijay Singh Baidhya and executive committee members of FNCCI were present in the workshop.
New FDI Policy Prioritizes Five Sectors for Foreign Investment
The new foreign investment policy endorsed by the cabinet’s economic infrastructures committee meeting on February 27 has prioritized five sectors for foreign direct investment (FDI) – hydropower (production and transmission); infrastructure development in the transport sector (fast tracks, railway, tunnels, cable cars, metro rail service, flyovers and international airports); agricultural, food and herbs processing industries; tourism industry; and mine-based and manufacturing industries.
The new policy, however, says that FDI is important for manufacturing industries creating employment, displacing import and promoting export, and in sectors such as education, health, and information, communication and technology. The new policy replaces the two-decade old Foreign Investment and One-Window Policy, 1992 and has also allowed repatriation of investments or dividends.
Minister for Industries, Mahesh Basnet, claimed that the new policy has opened the doors for foreign investors to invest in Nepal.
The new policy has banned foreign investment in cottage and traditional industries (except for technology transfer) and in the areas of coin business and security printing; arms and ammunition; real estate; industries providing tourist guides, trekking and mountaineering guides, porters (including horses, mules and yaks), kitchen mangers; multi-brand retail business with fixed capital lower than Rs 500 million; poultry, fishery and bee-keeping and primary production sectors of agriculture; and in radioactive materials.
The latest policy has also banned foreign investment in media (newspapers, radio and television). It has guaranteed equal treatment to both domestic and foreign investors without any discrimination and no nationalization of any investment. “However, if the government needs some portion of such investment for public welfare, it will pay proper compensation as per the prevailing law,” says the new policy.
Projects of National Pride Show Little Progress
The progress of the projects of national pride continues to be disappointing. According to two parliamentary committees – Development Committee and Good Governance and Monitoring Committee – these crucial projects, most of which are infrastructure projects, have shown little progress because they were launched without proper homework. 
A joint meeting of the two parliamentary committees on March 1 also concluded that proper attention hadn’t been paid to the technical aspects while launching these projects, which are now facing problems of land acquisition and lack of coordination among the various concerned government authorities.
“These problems should have been addressed before launching the projects,” Rabindra Adhikari, chairman of the Development Committee, said, “But this was not done and now that is preventing the projects from meeting their targets.”
Clash at Upper Karnali Dam Construction Site: Locals Chase Away Protesters
Locals clashed with political parties cadres that were opposing the development of Upper Karnali Hydroelectricity Project during a discussion programme organized at Daba of Dailekh district. Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) and GMR had organized the programme to inform and discuss the Project Development Agreement (PDA) with project stakeholders including political parties. Constituent Assembly members from Dailekh and other adjoining districts were present in the discussion programme. 
The protesting political party cadres had to take refuge at a nearby police camp to save themselves from the attacks. Nain Bahadur Shahi, an eyewitness said that the clashes ensued when cadres of some fringe parties including Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party, Rastriya Janamorcha Nepal and the Mohan Baidya led CPN-Maoist tried to vandalize the discussion venue and seize the microphones and speakers. However, the locals confronted them instantly and attacked the political cadres, Shahi recalled.“We strongly believe that the project should move ahead at any cost and we won’t spare anyone who tries to disturb development works in our area,” added Shahi.
Prior to this, the IBN and GMR officials’ team has organised similar programmes in Surkhet and headquarters of Dailekh district. The team includes IBN CEO Radhesh Pant, Under Secretary Khagendra Rijal, Harbind Yamocha from GMR and Upper Karnali Hydroelectricity Project Chief DK Singh. The PDA of the 900 MW Upper Karnali project which will affect 12 VDCs of Dailekh, Achham and Surkhet, was signed on September 19, 2014.
Guidelines for Tea Auction Centre Ready
The government has prepared the guidelines to run tea auction centres in the country. Jay Mukunda Khanal, the then Secretary at the Ministry of Agricultural Development said so at the joint meeting of the Agriculture and Water Resources Committee and the Industry, Commerce and Consumer Rights Committee of the Legislature-Parliament. 
The country’s first tea auction centre is being set up in Jhapa district with an investment of Rs 40 million. This centre will sell the tea produced by farmers, who don’t have their own tea factories, through auction. At the centre, both domestic and international buyers will buy the tea through the bidding process, depending on the quality of the tea. The centre is expected to help in the international marketization of the Nepali tea. 
The tea auction centre in Jhapa will be run by a seven-member taskforce formed under the convenership of Raman Prasad Pathak, executive director of the National Tea and Coffee Development Board (NTCDB). The taskforce will hold and manage the first auction of tea at the centre. The members of the taskforce include tea entrepreneurs, officials from the Ministry of Agricultural Development and tea experts.
The 11-member committee to be formed after the construction of the centre will provide membership to foreign buyers. According to officials, big tea buyers from India’s Siliguri and Kolkata, including the Indian Tea Board, have already been in touch with NTCDB for membership. Nepal currently produces 20.5 million kilograms of tea annually. Tea entrepreneurs have been demanding the formation of a separate Tea Development Board in order to increase the production to 100 million kilograms annually.
Industrialist Laxman Babu’s Bust Unveiled
Bust of late industrialist Laxman Babu Shrestha (1936-2014) has been built at the base station of the Manakamana Cable Car in Kurintar of Chitwan district. Shrestha’s company, Mankamana Darshan Pvt Ltd, runs the cable car service. Late Shrestha’s wife Dhana Kumari Shrestha unveiled the bust amidst a programme organized on March 4.
Laxman Babu Shrestha was the fourth son of Prem Narayan Shrestha and Dev Kumari Shrestha. He was the creator of the Mankamana Cable Car service and also the founder president of Chitwan Co-E Group.
“Respecting the contribution of our father, we have built his busts at two places which are quite visible to national and international pilgrims using the cable car service,” said his son Raja Babu Shrestha. Manakamana cable car is regarded as one of the successful industries in Nepal. Everyday 3,000-7,000 pilgrims reach the Manakamana temple in Gorkha district using the cable car service.
Governor Calls for Alertness Against Financial Fraud
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Governor Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada who has just retired has stressed enhancing internal control and internal audit to check increasing incidents of financial fraud in the country. “In order to control such crimes, the Board of Directors, management and other concerned authorities must always remain alert,” Dr Khatiwada said adding that internal audit units of organizations must be strengthened. He said that the number of financial frauds has been increasing in the country, and also called on external auditors for working professionally while addressing an one-day National Conference on Financial Fraud organized by the National Banking Institute (NBI) in Kathmandu on March 11.
Speaking on the occasion, NBI chairman Sashin Joshi said, “The largest number of financial frauds occurs in the financial sector followed by the real estate sector.” He informed that NBI has been conducting various training programs periodically for other concerned bodies such as the Central Investigation Bureau, Nepal Police and Office of the Attorney General.
Sanjib Subba chief executive officer of NBI said investigating financial crimes and frauds has been a major challenge and added that training in this area is essential to mitigate risks. He informed about NBI’ would come up with new programmes such as Banking Certification Course and Directors Certification Course in the near future. 
The conference was facilitated by the international experts Sangeet Shukla, senior advisor for risk management at Indian Banks' Association, Theresa Karunakaran, advisor for compliance at Axis Bank, Sandeep Mehra, senior investigator and chief of vigilance at The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and CEO of Fintelekt, Shirish Pathak, among others.
The conference was followed by a panel discussion comprising Laxmi Prapanna Niraula, acting executive director of NRB, Hemanta Malla, deputy inspector general at Central Investigation Bureau and Parashuram K Chhetri, a banking sector expert.
Bhajuratna Celebrates Golden Jubilee
Bhajuratna Engineering and Sales Limited, one of the leading suppliers of tractors, pump sets and other agricultural implements, medical and industrial oxygen and other gases in the country, marked its golden jubilee in Birgunj on March 14 by honouring 28 customers, four financial institutions and 57 employees 
The company started its business by supplying agricultural machines and implements and industrial and medical oxygen and other gases. Presently its trade portfolio includes supplying of welding electrodes, welding transformers and other equipment of ESAB Company, power transmission products of FENNER Company, Usha Pump sets, Philips Light, Himal Steel, Honda motorcycles and power products. From a less than half a dozen staff in its starting the company today has over 350 employees that work under the leadership of company’s chairman Padma Jyoti. 
Bhajuratna is the first company in the country to provide after-sales services to its customers, a press release from the company claimed. The company branch offices in Birgunj, Biratnagar, Janakpur, Hetauda, Bharatpur, Butwal, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Pokhara and Kathmandu and sub-dealersin Birtamod, Lahan, Bardibas, Butwal, Nepalgunj and Mahendranagar.
On the occasion of its Golden Jubilee, the company has announced two initiatives as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme.
Under the first initiative, the company will be providing stipends to 20 rural children from 10 VDCs where Bhajuratna operates to complete their education from grade six to 10. Half of these students will be girls.
Similarly, under the second initiative, 50 visually impaired men and women will receive treatment costs for cataract at Hetauda Community Eye Hospital managed by Tilganga Eye Hospital.
Shahrukh Khan Launches Kansai Nerolac’s ‘U Can’ Campaign in Nepal
Renowned Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan launched Kansai Nerolac Paint’s new social initiative named ‘UCan’ in Nepal amidst a press conference organized in the capital on March 9. Khan who had arrived in Kathmandu on his private jet said it was a small but very important initiative aimed at protecting the environment as well as decorating homes. He said that his association with a company like Kansai Nerolac, which understood the value of social responsibility, was a matter of happiness and opportunity.
Under the initiative, the company has urged Nerolac Paints users to convert the used paint cans into flowerpots. Users can get tips for doing so from Kansai Nerolac’s Facebook fan page and even post the pictures of their decorated cans on the page. The company will select five best photos from such photos over the duration of 60 days and include them in the ‘wall of fame’ album of its Facebook page.
Chairman of Kansai Nerolac Paint Nepal Limited (KNPL) and managing director of Kansai Nerolac Paints, India, HM Bharuka said that the initiative was one of the ways to communicate with the consumers. He expressed pleasure for bringing Khan to Kathmandu again. He said that the company’s earlier advertising stint, “Meet the Don,” that involved Khan made a significant contribution in increasing the company’s consumer base in Nepal. Bharuka also promised “to sign a Nepali star in the near future for promoting the company’s products. 
He said that Nepal is a lucrative market for paints. “Right now, we are not looking at market competition in Nepal; we are looking at the unfulfilled demands in Nepal’s paint market,” said Bharuka. 
Later in the evening, the company hosted a dinner for its lucky draw winners with Shahrukh Khan. With 39 joint ventures around the world, Kansai Nerolac is a leading paint company ranking firstin Japan, sixth in the world and third in India.
FNCCI General Assembly in April
The 49th general assembly of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) will be held during 11-12 April, the sixth executive committee meeting of the Federation on March 3 took the decision. The responsibility for the making necessary preparation for the event has been given to FNCCI’s senior vice-president Pashupati Murarka.
The meeting also formed a committee under the convenorship of vice-president Dinesh Shrestha to finalise FNCCI’s financial rules and workers’ rules. Executive committee members Shankhar Pandey, Rajan Sharma, Gopal Khanal and senior consultant Dharanidhar Khatiwada were selected as members of the committee.
The meeting appointed former president Ananda Raj Mulmi as the president of FNCCI’s advisory committee, former president Pradeep Kumar Shrestha as the co-chairman of FNCCI-CII Joint Economic Council, and appointed former president and disciplinary committee chairman Rabi Bhakta Shrestha as the convener of Nepal-China Non-Governmental Cooperation Forum. Similarly, former president Binod Bahadur Shrestha has been appointed as the convener of FNCCI’s felicitation committee, former president Kush Kumar Joshi has been appointed as the chairman of Membership Committee and has also decided appoint senior consultant Dharanidhar Khatiwada as FNCCI’s director general with effect from the new Nepali year.
The meeting also decided to donate three million rupees to the fire victims of Dadeldhura. The meeting was presided by FNCCI President Pradeep Jung Pandey and attended by former FNCCI presidents Ananda Raj Mulmi, Pradeep Kumar Shrestha, Rabi Bhakta Shrestha and Chandi Raj Dhakal, current senior vice-president Murarka, vice-presidents Kishor Pradhan, Dinesh Shrestha, Shekhar Golcha, and executive committee members.
New Indian Budget Slashes Grants to Nepal 
India has cut down the budgetary grant assistance to Nepal. In the Indian Union Budget tabled on Feb 28, the Indian government has committed a grant assistance of Rs 6.72 billion to Nepal for 2015/16, which is Rs 480 million less than the previous year. Last year the grant was Rs 7.20 billion.
The assistance announced for Nepal is less than that announced for other South Asian countries. According to the Indian Union Budget, Bhutan will receive the highest amount of assistance of Rs 98.56 billion, including both loan and grant, followed by Afghanistan (Rs 10.82 billion grant) and Sri Lanka (Rs 8 billion grant). Bangladesh and the Maldives have received less grants than Nepal from India.
Bundling Between Nepal Telecom and Samsung Galaxy S 4
Integrated Mobility Solution (IMS), the authorized dealer for Samsung mobiles in Nepal, and Nepal Telecom (NT) have entered into a new bundling partnership. With this partnership, the mobile service users of Nepal Telecom will get a Samsung Galaxy S4 set costing Rs 12000 and NT’s RIM card including a talk time of Rs 100 and also CDMA data price amounting to Rs 300 for a year.
NT’s Managing Director Buddhi Prasad Acharya said that though the CDMA technology is popular in the rural areas, the maximum use of this service hasn’t been possible due to the lack of qualitative mobile sets while speaking at the press conference organized to announce the deal. “In such a situation, providing smart phone via bundling would be useful. This service will be provided to all the rural parts of the country through our GSM and CDMA networks so that people can easily connect to the world,” Acharaya added.
Similarly, customers can also enjoy an Internet speed of upto 3.1 mbps, which will increase the data usage on the provided set said Lochan Lal Amatya, wireless service director at NT. On the occasion, president of IMS, Deepak Malhotra said the mobile set offered through the bundling tie-up was a well-established brand and therefore trust-worthy. In the programme, representative of Nepal-based Samsung’s office, Pranaya Sthapit said the company will introduce new devices in the future according to the interest of Nepali customers. 
Telecom Adding Balance Transfer Service
Nepal Telecom (NT) is set to start balance transfer service for the telephone services provided by it. The balance transfer service is currently available for NT’s pre-paid mobiles only. However, once the new plan is implemented customers of NT’s PSTN, CDMA and GSM services will be able to transfer balance from one service to another. Rabindra Jha, director of NT’s Information and Technology department, said the new balance transfer services were being planned as per the customers’ demand.“A study to launch this service is underway presently. We will perhaps launch the service from the next fiscal year (2015/16),” he informed.
The customers will need to have an integrated account to avail the new balance transfer services. “Now we are focusing our study on the ways for the activation of this account,” said Jha. The balance transfer service of NT is quite popular among its customers.
According to the latest statistics, Nepal Telecom has more than 11.7 million customers. Among them, the number of GSM service users is 9.8 million and the number of CDMA and PSTN users are 1.17 million and 0.66 million, respectively. NT has planned the balance transfer service due to the increase in the number of its mobile phone services users. India’s Vodafone has also provided the service of balance transfer from post-paid to pre-paid mobile services.
Philippine Investors Lack Info on Investment Opportunities in Nepal
Commercial Counsellor at the Philippine Embassy in New Delhi, India, John Paul B Inigo, has said that there is lack of information exchange between Nepal and Philippines in terms of trade and investment. “So far, the communication between the entrepreneurs of Nepal and Philippines has been poor. The entrepreneurs of Philippines know very little about investment opportunities in Nepal,” he said while speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Nepal-Philippines Chambers of Commerce and Industries (NPCCI) in Kathmandu on March 2.
Inigo said improving political stability in Nepal will assist the country in gaining high economic growth and said that such conditions can invite Philippine investment in bigger projects. “But for that to happen, Philippine investors should be provided adequate information about investment opportunities in Nepal,” stated Inigo, adding that the businessmen and entrepreneurs of the two countries can work together in the areas of education and tourism. 
Former president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Suraj Vaidya, who is the Honorary Consul General of the Philippines to Nepal, informed the press that visits by at least two business delegation between Nepal and Philippines were planned in 2015. “Nepal may get Philippine investment in the fields of education, agriculture, tourism and information and technology,” Vaidya said.
He also said that the Philippines could be a good market for Nepali handicrafts and precious stones. So far, Nepal has received only two million US dollars investment from Philippines. Gorkha Brewery, too, has a part of Philippine investment.
NPCCI was established last year and was formally inaugurated on March 2, this year. Vaidya said the chamber would work to increase the economic cooperation between Nepal and Philippines and bring Philippine investment to Nepal.

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