Biz News September 2014

  17 min 23 sec to read

Pancheshwor Project to Start within a Year
Nepali and the Indian government have agreed to implement the 6,720 Mega Watt (MW) Pancheswor Multipurpose Project (PMP) within a year. The agreement was reached between Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and visiting Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on August 20, during formal discussion held at the Prime Minister’s office. 
The bi-national mutual interest project is part of the integrated Mahakali Treaty, 1996 AD, which provisions both nations to share equal amount of water and electricity. For expediting the implementation process, both sides have agreed to form  the Pancheswor Development Authority. 
Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, Rajendra Kishore Kshetri and Indian ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard. In his address to the Nepali parliament, Modi promised to start the project within a year and announced to provide 1 billion rupees as soft loan for developing Nepal’s energy and physical infrastructures. However, the much anticipated Power Trade Agreement (PTA) was not finalized during the visit. 
Besides that, both sides have also reached formal agreement on Nepal Television- Doordarshan Television collaboration, and assistance for iodised salt. Both state owned television stations have agreed on programmes exchange, co-operation in production and broadcasting and providing trainings to the staffs of both the channels.
The Indian government has agreed to provide an aid of 69 million Rupees to Nepal for iodised salt. The MoU was signed between Narayngopal Malego, secretary at Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, and Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae. During the visit, Modi also promised to increase the Indian scholarship quotas for Nepali students, construct a petroleum pipeline connecting India and Nepal and decrease in telephone tariff rates for calling Nepal from  India.
Urban Area Development Plan in the Offing
For managed and specialized development of urban areas, the government has planned to introduce the concept of Urban Area Development. Small towns and settlements in valleys will be included for urban development. “Such concept will include more population and area than that of the metropolis,” said Dr. Mahendra Subba, joint secretary at the Physical Planning and Urban Development Division under the Ministry of Urban Development. He said that all the VDCs of Lalitpur sub-metropolitan city, Bhaktapur district and Kritipur municipality will be unified to form a larger metropolitan city, if the concept materializes. 
Kathmandu, Dang, Pokhara and Surkhet have been identified as suitable areas for implementing this concept.  Likewise, inner Terai districts Chitwan, Udaypur and Sindhuli have been identified as potential sites for urban development.
According to Dr. Subba, urban development will balance the economy and help in making economical investments while also helping in economical development of specialized sectors. Similarly, specific areas can be developed as specialized areas for tourism, culture, industry and religion, said the Ministry. Besides that, any development activity carried out in the specific sector will benefit everyone and will build a sense of belongingness. 
The Ministry is planning to incorporate the concept of Urban Development through ‘National Urban Development Strategy’. The draft of the strategy is being analysed by Dr. Pitamber Sharma from the experts’ side and Dr. Subba from the Ministry’s side. The draft will be completed and publicized by this month. 
Although the existing National Urban Policy 2007 aims at promoting private sector investment in infrastructural development, the result so far is not satisfactory. The policy will encourage the role of private sector, said Dr Dubba. He also claimed that once the strategy is finalized, the working modality for the same will include investment model for the private sector. The Ministry believes that such model will uplift private sector investment in development.
3rd Nepal ConXpo in December
The third Nepa ConXpo will be held during 5-9 December this year at Bhirkutimandap, Kathmandu. The event, originally scheduled for August 20, was postponed by the organizers citing technical reasons. Jointly organized by the Federation of Contractors’ Associations of Nepal (FCAN) and Nepa Exhibitions and Equipment Pvt Ltd, the expo aims to enhance the development and expansion of physical infrastructures in the country.
Organizations active in the field of construction business from across the country will be supporting and participating the coming expo, Jayaram Lamichhane, FCAN’s president said while informing that 26 stalls out of the total 61 have been booked. The organisers anticipate 40,000 visitors and expect it to conclude with a business transactions worth 120 million.
Ncell Provides Rs 200 mn for Disaster Victims
Cell phone giant Ncell has provided Rs 200 million for the victims of the floods and landslides in different parts of the country over the past few weeks. Ncell ’s Chief Executive Officer Erim Taylanlar handed over a cheque of Rs 200 million to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala amidst a function at the PM’s official residence in Baluwatar on August 22.
Handing over the cheque, CEO Taylanlar said that he felt satisfied being able to help the victims of flood and landslide across the country. “We have been deeply concerned at the loss of lives and infrastructures across the country due to flood, landslide and other natural disasters in various parts of the country. We hope this contribution from our side will help the Government to expedite the rescue and relief on the affected areas,” said Taylanlar during the support handover.
This is the largest amount of donation made by any company for a public cause in Nepal. Ncell said the donation is part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR). The amount will go to the Prime Minister Relief Fund and will be used to provide relief to the victims of the recent natural disasters. 
Ncell had also made a similar contribution of Rs 1 million for the victims of the landslide in Sindhupalchowk District. Also, the company provided bonus talk time to its customers in the area to ensure smooth communication in the affected areas. 
Ncell Launches Ncell App Camp and Self-Service App
Ncell has launched Ncell App Camp, a mobile app development competition for young developers and mobile enthusiast. The camp aims to explore the country’s digital potential and encourage youth to build innovative businesses. “It is launched as part of Ncell's corporate social initiative and aims to contribute to drive innovation and make Nepalese youngsters part of the worldwide mobile app industry,” said Erim Taylanlar, CEO of Ncell.
Ncell App Camp will be a multi-stage event, which will provide distinct opportunity to mobile enthusiasts to obtain global as well as local knowledge of App business and will also allow them to learn the ability of developing app and building business around and compete among themselves for exciting prizes.
“The camp will also instil spirit of entrepreneurship among talented developers and mobile enthusiasts will motivate them to think commercially and help them to turn their new app ideas into successful businesses, thereby promoting self-employment,” said Sanju Koirala, corporate communication director at Ncell.
Young developers and mobile enthusiasts can take part in the competition for free by registering their teams and ideas in four thematic areas— agriculture, corporate solutions, education and tourism by registering  online at before October 28, 2014 noon.Any developer team with an initial idea, or an idea in development stage, can register to participate in the competition. The appscan be created on any platform like Android, Apple iOS, Windows, SMS and J2ME and others.
Bibhusan Bista of Young Innovations said that 150 best will be selected in the team and they will be invited to take part in other capacity building seminars. During the seminars the teams will undergo coaching on various facets of app making and business development.
“The participants will be provided with various seminars where the experts will provide knowledge of the market, app development and business development. The knowledge gained will help the participants to further refine their ideas and make them more socially inclined and commercially viable,” said Bista.
Once the teams submit their refined ideas, six best ideas from each category - that is 24 teams in total - will further get selected for the final competition, which will be held through December 9-11, 2014.
These finalists under the guidance of national and international experts will come up with working prototypes and present their ideas to an independent jury, comprising of experts from different sectors. The winners will be selected after being evaluated by the jury. The jury will select four category winners and one overall winner.
 The thematic winners will win cash prize of Rs. 250,000 each, and the overall winner will get additional Rs. 500,000 in cash along with Ncell sponsorship to participate in a similar overseas app camp.
Likewise, Ncell has also launched Ncell App, It will allow the customers to get all information about Ncell products, services and schemes. The app will also help its customers to check their balance, top up balance, buy data packs and other services, and transfer balance and so on.
The App has different features for pre-paid and postpaid customers. The customers will have those features automatically available on their handset depending on the type of SIM they have.
SAFA Board Meeting held in Kathmandu
The 34thboard meeting of South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) was organized on July 20 in  Kathmandu. The meeting was participated by representatives from the member bodies of SAFA.
SAFA is a forum of professional accounting bodies in the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region of eight nations. It works in the public interest and towards broad economic development of the region in part through promoting harmonization of accounting standards and practices.
Since its establishment, it has broadened the focus of its activities from core accounting, auditing and allied areas to contribution towards sustained development of the SAARC region. The meeting was organized by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nepal (ICAN).
MICR Cheque Mandatory by April 
Banking and financial institutions (BFIs) will be accepting only Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) cheque from April, next year. Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has directed all commercial banks, development banks and finance companies to start issuing MICR cheque starting from 18th October this year, in its recent amendment to the Unified Directive 2070. This provision will require any cheque holding customer to exchange their existing cheques for MICR cheques from their respective BFIs, as ordinary cheques will not be accepted after April. The directive came in line with the implementation of Electronic Cheque Clearing (ECC). 
What is MICR?
MICR was introduced in America in 1959 for easing the cheque clearance process and is now widely used all over the world. MICR issuing BFI places bank’s code, customer’s account number, cheque number and amount of money in the lower section of the cheque. The clearing house clears the cheque on the basis of these characters. But, the code is different from the currently used bar code.
MICR code can easily be read with human eyes. The font used in the cheque is of two types. The first one ‘E-13 B’ was first introduced in America and has achieved IS0 1004:1995 standard. Likewise, the second one ‘CMC-7’ was introduced in France and is widely used in Europe. The code used in MICR is written using Iron Oxide.
Kansai Nerolac announces ‘Dance with Don’ Offer
Kansai Paints Nepal has announced "Dance with Don" offer for its consumers. Among other gift hampers the contest includes an offer to meet Kansai Nerolac Paints’ brand ambassador Bollywood mega star Shahrukh Khan.
Any consumer who buys Rs 25,000 or above worth of Kansai Nerolac paint will be provided with a scratch card, which will have two scratch areas. One of these scratch areas has direct gifts such as LED TV, refrigerator, mobile phones, watch, pen signed by Shahrukh Khan and so on.
The other scratch area will have a unique code in it, which must be sent to 4555 through SMS to compete for a chance to win an opportunity to meet and dance with the King Khan. 
The scheme was officially announced on August 7 in a press meet held in Hotel Annapurna, Kathmandu by Satya Prakash, MD of Kansai Nerolac Paints Nepal. 
NTA Making Type Approval more Customers Friendly 
Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA) has made its type approval process (TAP) more user friendly. It is amending earlier provisions related to the management of TAP and also making changes in the system to align with international practices, Min Prasad Aryal, deputy director of NTA said informing that system was implemented from the last week of August.
New provisions mandate equipment with temporary type approvals must be renewed within 15 days instead of 20. Similarly, authentic distributor swilling to acquire type approval for their equipment will have to provision for customer service centre and must mention the location of the facility in the document submitted for the request. 
New provisions have tried to ensure that equipment used fulfil international quality standards.  Permission of any existing equipment, temporary or permanent, will be terminated if it does not fulfils the quality standards. Likewise, equipment that might pose threat to users’, national and to the service providers’ security will not be approved. Along the new provisions have outlined measures to keep data of approved equipment secure. 
Equipment supplied by authentic distributors, who have been certified by NTA recognised institutions, will be only provided type approval.NTA provides six months temporary and five years permanent type approval permissions.
Nepal to Focus on GSP and US Investment during TIFA Council Meet
Nepal is likely to focus on receiving generalized system of preference (GSP) for over 5000 goods and on bringing US investment in its tourism and hydropower sectors in the upcoming second Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) Council meeting. 
Though a formal date for the meeting is yet to be finalized, separate preliminary meetings held between the officials of Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), Ministry of Finance (MoF), Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) and United States Trade Representative (USTR) Deputy Assistant for Middle East and South Asia, Mara Woore, to finalize agenda and date for the meeting, hinted. 
Toya Narayan Gyawali, joint secretary at the MoCS said that the preparatory discussions with Burr had been fruitful. During the upcoming council meeting, Nepal is expecting to tablewide range of issues related to trade and investments. “During the meeting, Nepal will showcase different projects in hydropower, tourism, industry and service sectors to before the US investors,” Gyawali said. Nepal expects to widen the areas of utilization of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) facilities provided by US government to over 5000 major Nepali export products like readymade garments and pashmina products, among others. 
Likewise, Nepal will also seek US support on establishment of labs, accreditation centers and trainings for government officers to empower them in trade negotiations and trade analysis. It will also request for cooperation on patent, trademark, and industrial designs for promoting Nepali goods in the international market. 
Takuya Kamata New WB Country Manager 
Takuya Kamata has been appointed the World Bank’s Country Manager for Nepal. According to a press release, Kamata joined the World Bank in 1990 and has since held various positions in infrastructure sectors, country and corporate units in the Bank’s Africa Region, the East Asia and Pacific Region, and the Europe and Central Asia Region as well as in the Corporate Strategy Group. Before being sent to Nepal, he was Country Manager for Uzbekistan.
A Japanese national, Kamata also worked for McKinsey and Company and the Bank of Tokyo. He is a graduate of the Booth Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago, USA, and the Waseda University, Japan.
IE Code Mandatory for Foreign Trade 
Exporters and importers will now need IE (import/export) code for carrying out import export business. The IE Code Working Procedure- 2014, endorsed by the cabinet recently will come into effect within this fiscal year, Narayan Prasad Bidari, director general at Department of Commerce and Supply Management said. The working committee that will monitor the implementation of this process comprises representatives from the Customs, Commerce and Inland Revenue Departments. The software and the budget necessary for implementing this code has already been approved. However, despite the departments’ claim of consulting the private sector before passing the code, Kamlesh Kumar Agrawal, general secretary of Nepal Chamber of Commerce complains that they were not informed about the provision.
According to the working procedure, firms with import/export license will be provided with a ten digit IE Code. According to the classification, India will have 1 as the first number, China will have 2 and all other countries will have 3 as the starting number of IE code for export. Similarly, on the import, India will have 4, China will have 5 and all other countries will have 6 as the starting number of IE Code. But, firms involved both in import and export will have 7 as the starting number of IE Code while conducting business with India, 8 with China and 9 with other countries.
European Union (EU) and the developed nations have urged Nepal to make it compulsory to use IE Code by 2017 and have even warned to stop providing subsidy in trade if the IE Code is not implemented within the stated time. Currently, IE Code is in use in India, China and many EU countries.
Pokhara Gets its First Six-lane Road 
Famous tourist destination, Pokhara is getting its first six-lane wide road. The nearly three-kilometre road will be constructed from a place called Zero Kilometre to Bindabasini temple. A contract for completing this road within 2 years has been signed with Raman/Mrit Sanjiwani JV, informed Prabhat Kumar Jha, the chief at Division Road Office, Pokhara. The foundation stone was laid in July and the construction work started from the last week of August. The road is being constructed at the estimated cost of Rs 151.3 million (including VAT), which is 10 per cent less than the original estimate, Jha said. Elaborating on the structure of the road, he said that four lanes in the middle are designed to be 65 mm thick asphalt concrete and the remaining two lanes will be 20 mm thick premix carpet. The width of the bridge above the Firke River will be also expanded to 50 meters.
Compensations issues related to houses and property that will be affected by the road expansion have been solved except for one or two houses, he said. Along with that request for shifting electric poles have been submitted to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). “NEA has claimed that Rs 8 million will be required for shifting the poles. The authority for bearing this cost is yet to be decided,” Jha said adding that the issue will be resolved at the ministerial level. The project was initiated by the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport to help ease traffic jam in the city.  

No comments yet. Be the first one to comment.