January 22: Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has not been able to finalize its chief executive officer (CEO) due to the ongoing disagreements between the prime minister and minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation. The board was scheduled to hold a meeting on Sunday evening (January 19) to recommend a name for CEO, but the recommendation has now been postponed until further notice.
Following the end of former CEO Deepak Raj Joshi’s term in December, NTB had formed a sub-committee comprising of NTB members Biplav Poudel, Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Ghanashyam Upadhyay to recommend a few people to be appointed as the next CEO.
The sub-committee recommended the names of Dr Dhananjaya Regmi, Dipak Baskota and Hikmat Singh Aair as viable candidates to replace Joshi. It did not however consider Joshi himself.
Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai wants Dr Regmi to take the top job at NTB while Prime Minister Oli wants Deepak Raj Joshi to continue as the CEO, according to a source at the tourism board. Other members of the board also accuse the prime minister and the minister of flouting the working procedures to appoint their preferred person.
“The government should have selected a CEO from the recommended names,” said Krishna Bahadur Mahara, member of the selection sub-committee and the board, adding, “But by stalling the appointment, the government is raising some serious concerns and suspicions.” He also said that the government’s inaction would adversely affect the ongoing Visit Nepal 2020 campaign.
However, Biplav Poudel, coordinator of the sub-committee, said that the delay was because of the busy schedule of the prime minister and the tourism minister. “It would be better if they make a decision quick but the delay might be because they are busy with their workload,” he said. He also stated that the delay would not much affect the ongoing Visit Nepal campaign because there is a separate body looking after it.
Deepak Mahat, another member of the board, said that the ongoing delay has raised concerns about the intention of the board.