Biznews October 2015

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Kharel REAAN's 1st Prez
The Real Estate Agents’ Association of Nepal (REAAN) held its first annual general meeting in Kathmandu recently and elected its first-ever executive committee. 

The meet unanimously elected Ishwor Prasad Kharel as president. Likewise, 11 members were elected unanimously for a three year term for its executive committee which will have additional 4 members nominated from different sections to make it inclusive.

 Kharel, in his first speech as president, said all real estate agents in the country have to unite to make the real estate sector systematic. Inaugurating the meeting, senior economist Prof Dr Bishwambher Pyakuryal said the real estate business has expanded with increasing private sector investment. He also urged the government to invest in the sector to increase government revenue. 

Similarly, Editor-in-Chief of Aarthik Abhiyan daily and secretary of Media Society Nepal, Madan Lamsal said real estate agents should work as good advisors for the buyers and act as a bridge between sellers and buyers. 

Kalu Gurung, treasurer of the Nepal Land and Housing Developers' Association said that he was ready to coordinate with the agents. REAAN has brought together two hundred agents so far and hopes it will increase in the future.

New Constitution Issued
President Dr Ram Baran Yadav on Sept 20 announced the adoption of Nepal’s new Constitution at the last meeting of the Constituent Assembly (CA).

In his speech, the president congratulated the Nepali people for the achievement. The Head of State also expressed hope that sustainable peace and political stability will follow the new constitution and that this will open the path to development.

Before making the announcement, Dr Yadav signed five copies of the new constitution which had already been signed by the CA members and authenticated by CA Chairman, Subash Chandra Nembang. The new constitution which has 35 parts, 308 articles and nine schedules, has replaced the Interim Constitution of Nepal. After the president’s speech, the CA members unanimously passed a vote-of-thanks which was tabled by the CA Chairman.

Nepal's Pioneer of Microfinance Panta Passes Away
Former Deputy Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) and microfinance pioneer in Nepal, Dr Harihar Dev Panta has passed away at the age of 73. Panta founded the Nirdhan Utthan Bank Limited (NUBL), a bank which worked to uplift the poor. He established a microfinance NGO- Nirdhan in 1991, and later upgraded it to a bank.

The bank (established in 1998) was the first of its kind in Nepal. The microfinance programme in Nepal was inspired by the success of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. Panta was Chairman of the Board of Directors since January 2007 at Nirdhan Utthan Bank Limited and Chief Executive Officer since 1998. He is survived by two sons and a daughter.

SAARC Infrastructure Experts Meet in Oct
Diploma Engineers Association, Nepal (DIN) and SAARC Diploma Engineers Forum are organising the SAARC Regional Infrastructure Seminar from October 8 to 10, 2015. During the meet, experts from the SAARC region will present papers on the importance of infrastructure for economic development and also share their experience.

Reconstruction and rehabilitation programmes and the experience of earthquake- prone zones will also be discussed during the programme, said the organisers. Around 500 people, including 200 from SAARC countries, are expected to take part in the event.

India’s Unofficial Embargo Continues
Hundreds of trucks headed for Nepal have been stuck near the main trading points along the Indo-Nepal border due to an ‘unofficial’ trade embargo imposed by India.

The embargo has led to a shortage of petroleum products in almost all the parts of the country as Indian officials have not allowed trucks and tankers to enter Nepal through Biratnagar, Kakarbhitta, Nepalgunj, Birgunj and Sunauli till this matter went to press.

Right after the promulgation of the constitution in Nepal, the southern neighbour has been expressing dissatisfaction over the major political parties’ failure to address the demands of the Madhesi parties. Indian officials deny that an embargo is in place and maintain that they are worried about the safety of Indian freight operators.

Anjan Shrestha Elected NADA President
Laxmi Intercontinental’s Managing Director Anjan Shrestha has been elected president of Nepal Automobiles Dealers’ Association (NADA). Of the 327 votes, Shrestha received 212, and his competitior Manoj Sethia, Managing Director, ATC Pvt Ltd received 115 votes. Shrestha will lead NADA for the next two years. Similarly, 14 others have been elected executive committee members.

Other elected executive committee members include, Krishna Prasad Dulal, Dev Kaji Shrestha, Sunil Rijal, Bikram Rauniyar, Shambhu Dulal, Anup Kumar Baral, Surendra Upreti, Pradipman Pradhan, Dipak Thapa Gauchan, Akash Golcha, Nandakishwor Shahi, Kapil Siwakoti, Gopikrishna Neupane and Dipakkaji Tuladhar. Dhurba Kumar Thapa, Shiva Raj Giri, Bhimlal Neupane and Narayanprasad Kandel were elected unanimously as institutional members.

Nepse to Introduce Bylaws to Check Malpractices in Share Market
Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) is working on Securities Transaction By-laws 2015 to check and discourage malpractices in the share market. “Although the transactions carried out in the stock market are legal, in practice, the provisions we have leave room for the legality to be questioned,” said Nepse General Manager Sitaram Thapaliya. 

Around a year ago, Nirmal Pradhan of NB Group had taken a loan, on behalf of a third person, from a bank keeping NB Bank promoter Laxmi Bahadur Shrestha’s shares as collateral. But the shares which were kept as collateral, were still being traded in the market, and ordinary investors had bought the shares. There are other similar cases such as the one involving Nepal Share Market (finance company) and Citizen’s Investment Trust.

Similarly, the new by-laws will have provision of allowing block trading even outside the market, and rules to make the investors more accountable. It will also pave the way for investors to place buy and sell orders online.
Meanwhile, Nepse has called on the de-listed companies to get registered under Over-the Counter (OTC) window of Nepse to facilitate transfer of shares of such companies.

Nepal Third in Economic Freedom in South Asia
Nepal has ranked third (after Bhutan and Sri Lanka) in economic freedom in the SAARC region, according to the annual peer reviewed Economic Freedom of the World Report. The report, produced by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank, in cooperation with independent institutes in 80 nations and territories, including Samriddhi Foundation from Nepal, ranked Nepal 106 among 157 countries. The report was based on figures from 2013. 

Nepal received an overall score of 6.56 (on a scale of 1 to 10 where a higher value indicates a higher level of economic freedom). It jumped up 20 places in the global ranking. Last year, Nepal ranked 126th out of 152 countries with a score of 6.16. 

“Despite the jump, Nepal’s score has improved only marginally, maintaining us as a country with a low level of economic freedom,” said Dr. Hemanta Dabadi, Senior Fellow at Samriddhi, the Prosperity Foundation. Economic freedom is measured in five different areas: size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally, regulation of credit and labour and business. 

Hong Kong has ranked 1st with 8.97 out of 10. Singapore with 8.52, New Zealand with 8.19, Switzerland with 8.16 and the UAE with 8.15 complete the top five. The USA scored 7.73, Japan 7.52, China 6.44 and India 6.43. Argentina, Syria, Chad, Libya, Republic of Congo, and Venezuela (3.23) are the last five on the list.

Resolve Issues through Talks, Not Strikes: FNCCI 
The Federation of Nepales Chambers of Commerce and Industry has urged one and all to seek solution to the current political crisis through talks, not strikes. 

FNCCI says strikes not only restrict the rights of the public, but also force industries to shut down. “As a result, the private sector is losing billions of rupees, and this ultimately has a negative effect on the prosperity of the country, said the FNCCI in a press statement.

The statement also said that FNCCI is against all types of strikes. It has demanded that the government respect the contribution of the private sector to the national economy and ensure safety of businesspersons and industrialists.

MS Group to Produce Refined Sugar from December
MS Group has said it will start production of refined sugar in Nepal from December this year.

The group, which will become the first to produce refined sugar in the country, has invested Rs 2 billion on a plant (Himalaya Refined Sugar Industry) in Panwadi, Siraha, and it will provide employment to 500 people.

Managing Director of the group, Sashikant Agrawal said the plant will produce refined sugar without using sulfur and limestone. “Refined sugar can be used as an alternative to organic sugar, and it has a positive effect on human health,” he said.

According to Agrawal, refined sugar can be used in medicine as well as soft drinks. Manufacturers producing these items have been importing refined sugar from Thailand, India and Brazil.

Agrawal said the plant alone cost the company Rs 500 million to build. It has the capacity to crush 2,500 tonnes of sugarcane per day, and can produce 200 MT of sugar. The plant has been financed by NIC Asia and Nepal Investment banks.

MS group runs Reliance Spinning Mill (Birgunj), Bhagwati Steel (Biratnagar) and Everest Sugar Mill (Mahottari). It has also invested in the hotel business.

Tuladhar New NFIA Prez
Nepal Financial Institutions Association (NFIA) has unanimously elected Saroj Kaji Tuladhar, CEO of Goodwill finance company, as its new president unanimously. 

A gathering of NFIA members also elected a new executive committee. All office bearers and members of the new executive committee were also nominated unanimously. Manbahing Rai has been elected first vice-president, Naresh Singh Bohara second vice-president, Anil Shrestha general secretary and Sunil Narayan Shrestha treasurer. 

Likewise, Rajojman Shrestha, Binod Kumar Karki, Laxmilal Nakarmi, Dineshlal Shrestha, Rajkumar Rai and Rajmohan Karmacharya were elected executive committee members.

Restaurants Free to make Own Beer 
The government has decided to allow restaurants with at least 20 seats to produce their own beer.
 
The decision was made in order to boost the tourism industry, officials said. A meeting of the Industrial Promotion Board (IPB), held under the chairmanship of the Minister of Industry, Mahesh Basnet, recently approved the proposal presented by the private sector.

The ‘micro breweries’, which will be established under the new provisions, will play a significant role in promoting tourism, said minister Basnet. The meeting has also finalised the standards that micro breweries would have to meet. According to the standard, restaurants can only produce beverages that have up to 7 percent alcohol, and the restaurant should have the capacity to serve at least 20 customers at a given time.  

Maheswor Neupane, director general of the Department of Industry, said that restaurants would require at least 10.5 million rupees to establish a micro brewery. According to Neupane, interested operators can sell a maximum of 2.5 million litres of beer per year.

Ghimire Elected APPON President
Shankar Ghimire has been elected president of Association of Pharmaceuticals Producers of Nepal (APPON). The 21st Annual General Meeting of AAPON held recently in Kathmandu elected Ghimire and an executive committee which will have a tenure of two years. The meeting also elected Dipak Dahal, Sushil Mittal, Dipak Pradhan, Prajwal Jung Pandey as Senior Vice-president, Vice- president, General Secretary, and Treasurer of the association respectively. Similarly, Bijay Raj Shakya, Prabhat Rungata, Sudhir Prakash Maskey, Dipendra Pradhan, and Prithvi Raj Bhandari are new executive committee members.

King's and Presidential now Affiliated with Westcliff Univ
King's College and Presidential Business School are now affiliated with Westcliff University, an accredited American University. The government gave its nod to the affiliation a few weeks ago. Earlier, the colleges were affiliated with a university, which did not have QAA/accreditation. The government has made it mandatory for educational institutions to take affiliation only from QAA/accredited universities. Executive Director of King's College, Narottam Aryal said, “Students can obtain a foreign degree in Nepal at just 20 percent of the cost required to study abroad. "We are committed to providing quality education to students and create job opportunities in Nepal,” he said.

NADA Auto Show Sees Sales Worth Rs 5 Billion
NADA Auto Show 2015 concluded on September 21 with sales worth over Rs 5 billion, organisers of the event said. Around 60,000 visitors came to the show organised at Bhrikuti Mandap. “This year’s auto show exceeded our expectations,” said Sambhu Dahal coordinator of NADA Auto Show. “We were a bit worried about the show because of the recent earthquake and the ongoing strikes, but they did not have a negative impact on the show,” he added.
 
According to the organisers, dealers received orders for 2,000 two-wheelers, 600 four wheelers and 50 heavy equipment during the show. 

The auto show featured 120 stalls of 65 exhibitors dealing in 14 four-wheeler brands, 15 two-wheeler brands and five heavy equipment commercial brands. The exhibition also showcased stalls of financial institutions, firms involved in new technological developments, and those related to auto safety technology, spare parts, lubricants, tyres, generator, garage equipment, batteries and other accessories.

New schemes, discounts, extra facilities and services provided by the automobile dealers also attracted customers. Adding to that, BFI’s provide auto loan at very nominal interest rate. Over 3,000 requests for loans were registered during the event.

During the auto show, CG Motocorp launched Suzuki S-cross; United Traders, the authorised distributor of Toyota launched the diesel version of Toyota Etios; and Ktm International launched three models of Italian motorcycles Benelli i.e TNT 300, 600I and 600GT.  Similarly, Yamaha launched YZF-R3 and a new version of R15. 

Syakar Trading Company launched the all-new Jazz (available in both petrol and diesel options). Adding to that it also launched new Civic. 

MAW Launched Skoda Octavia and Skoda Yeti (SUV) on the occasion. Sipradi Trading launched Safari Strome in two models (LX and VX). Pooja International, the sole authorised dealer of Volkswagen, launched all new Scirocco, Touareg and Beetle during the Show.

Teams Selected for Ncell App Camp 2015
Nepal’s leading mobile service provider Ncell has selected 150 teams for the second edition of Nepal’s biggest mobile app development conclave, Ncell App Camp. The 150 were selected from a list of 728 that had applied to take part in the event. The deadline for this year was September 20. The list of names of the teams selected is also available on the event’s Android app, and on its website www.ncelappcamp.com.

“We would like to thank all the interested teams for their overwhelming response and enthusiasm to contribute to important sectors like health and tourism with innovative solutions. The response demonstrates the digital potential that the country has,” said Ncell CEO Erim Taylanlar. This year, mobile app ideas compete under four categories—games and entertainment, tourism, health, and utilities. All categories, except tourism, are new to this year’s Ncell App Camp. According to the organisers, of the 150 selected ideas, 37 are under the games and entertainment category, 38 in tourism, 38 in health and 37 in utilities categories.

The selected teams will now participate in capacity-building seminars and trainings conducted by national and international experts in November. Following the seminars and trainings, the teams will develop a working prototype of their app, which will be screened by industry experts, and the top 24 teams (six from each category), will be selected for the final. The best team in each category will win a cash prize of Rs 250,000 and a grand winner from among them will win an additional cash prize of Rs 500,000, and an opportunity to participate in an international event in 2016.

TeliaSonera to Leave Nepal
Ncell Says the Service will not be Affected
TeliaSonera, the parent company of Ncell, announced its plans to gradually exit from Nepal, and six other nations from Central Asia to focus in Europe and Sweden. The company has said that its board of directors has decided to pull out of Eurasia. The Nordic telecommunication company also announced that it will withdraw its operation from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Moldova and Georgia. Earlier in March, a high-level delegation from TeliaSonera had visited Nepal to look at possibilities of issuing an IPO. The delegation had also visited Sebon, and conducted a detailed study on how Ncell could expand its business in the upcoming days.

According to Reuters, TeliaSonera came up with a plan to leave the region after a year-long research.

 However, Ncell says that it will continue to operate and develop in a sustainable and responsible way.
The company said that it will continue to focus on its expansion drive and increase its penetration in both voice and data segments. Ncell claims to have a 56 percent share in the Nepali telecommunications market.

NEEK Increasing Production Capacity by Three Times
The only transformer manufacturing company in Nepal, Nepal Ekarat Engineering (NEEK) has celebrated its 24th anniversary. The company has announced to increase its production three times. With this the company’s annual production will reach 6,000 units. On the occasion, the company also felicitated its outstanding staff.  

Khadi Nepal Fashion Show at Soaltee
Soaltee Crowne Plaza Kathmandu hosted a Khadi Nepal Fashion Show on September 24. The show was organised by the South Asia Foundation aiming at creating a sustainable model of development that could be artisian and rural micro-entrepreneur based. Khadi Nepal Fashion Show highlighted some fabulous creations from India and Nepal using this mundane fabric, the essence of handmade rural products. The ramp was walked by 10 Indian and 6 Nepalese models. The event showcased the designs of two Indian designers and one Nepali. The event was organized as a part of India-Nepal Folk Crafts Festival which was organised from 23- 28 September in Bhirkutimandap.

NCC Expo 2015 from October 8 
Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC), in cooperation with Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, is organising 'Nepal Chamber Expo 2015' on October 8-12 at Bhrikuti Mandap Exhibition Hall in Kathmandu. South Korea and Vietnam are the Partner Country and Focus Country respectively of the expo

According to the organisers, the expo will have around 180 stalls. Among them around 40 stalls will feature Korean products and 15 stalls of Vietnamese products.

The expo will have stalls for automobile, electrical and electronics, flooring and furnishing, home appliances, modular kitchen, fashion wear and accessories, mobile and gadgets, and FMCG among others.

Govt Decides to Allow to New Breweries, Distilleries
House Committee Says ‘Wait’
The government has decided to lift a moratorium on the establishment of distilleries and breweries in the country. The decision was made by a meeting of the Industrial Promotion Board, held on September 18, under the chairmanship of Industry Minister Mahesh Basnet. The government had halted registration of new breweries and distilleries, and not allowed existing breweries to upgrade claiming liquor producers were not able to meet the required standard. However, the newly approved provision does not allow the entrepreneurs to establish a plant in Kathmandu and other sub-metropolitan cities, as well as near the southern part of Lumbini, and over a 15 km radius of Indo-Nepal border.

Similarly, the meeting has also set new standards for registration and environmental assessment. Parties interested in operating a brewery or distillery will have to deposit Rs 500,000 for registration and an additional Rs 300,000 for its upgrade. The new provision also requires a brewery to employ at least one technician, microbiologist or chemist and a food specialist. 

Meanwhile, the Parliament’s Industry, Commerce and Consumer Affairs committee has issued a directive to the government to halt implementation of the decision to grant new licenses to breweries and distilleries. Committee Chairman Bhishma Raj Angdambe said committee members wanted more time to discuss the issue before a decision was reached.

2nd NYEF Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Ends
Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs’ Forum (NYEF), in association with the US Embassy, successfully organised the Second Entrepreneurship Boot Camp at Gokarna Forest Resort. The boot camp was targeted at people with a strong and demonstrable interest in starting, or being involved in, the creation of a new business. Of the 140 people who applied, 29 were selected after multiple rounds to take part in the boot camp. 

The participants were encouraged to work on their idea based on the business model canvas. The jury for the final comprised Ashutosh Tiwari, CEO of Sherpa Adventure Gears, Ajay B. Pradhanang, Managing Director, Fleur Himalayan and Kevin C. Price, Economic & Commercial Officer, US Embassy. 

The first place went to Team Sipalu Sisters, whose idea was to start a women-run two wheeler repair workshop. The second place went to team Shu Swagatam whose idea was to build roadside toilets on highways. In third place was team Care Age Home whose idea was to start a care home for the elderly. Sipalu Sisters also received a cash prize of Rs. 60,000. All participants get access to NYEF’s pool of mentors.  

Nepse to Delist Eight Companies
Nepal Stock Exchange has said it is going to cancel the listing of eight companies that have remained inactive in the exchange.

Nepse Managing Director Sitaram Thapalia said the companies have not even paid their annual charges to the stock exchange. “We are going to cancel the listing of companies that had been suspended for not following our terms and conditions,” he said.

According to the exchange, the companies in question have not paid their dues for up to 5-10 years. The companies whose listing is going to be cancelled are: Butwal Spinning Mill, Yak & Yeti Hotel, Birat Shoes, Nepal Trading, Nepal Welfare Company, Fleur Himalayan Limited, Arun Vanaspati Udhyog and Bitumen and Barrel Industry.
“We have already initiated the cancellation process. It will have to be approved by the board,” said Thapalia. Although there are numerous companies that have not paid their dues for years, Nepse has said it is for now going to take action against those who have not cleared their dues for five years or more.

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