BizNews March 2016

  15 min 48 sec to read

Stakeholders Urge for Commitment for Devt of East Terai
Stakeholders have stressed on the need for committed efforts from all concerned for the development of Eastern Terai. Participating in an interaction held at Biratnagar on the topic “Nepal’s Development Issues and Nepal-India Relationship,” jointly organized by New Business Age Pvt. Ltd. and Aarthik Abhiyan Daily on February 10, the stakeholders alleged that the political leadership was indifferent towards the country’s development. They claimed that the leaders’ lack of vision about national progress was the reason behind the sluggish pace of Nepal’s development. Speakers at the programme said that the Nepal-India relations have remained strong and cordial at the peoples’ level, though problems have been felt from time to time at the government level. 

Member of Parliament representing Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic, Pawan Kumar Sarda, who presided over the event, opined that frequent strikes and shutdowns have ravaged almost every area related to national development. Sarda, who is also the President of Morang Merchants Association and an Executive Committee Member of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that Nepal had to suffer a huge economic setback due to the recent blockade on Indian border because the country didn’t take any initiative to reduce dependence on India even after experience of a blockade in 1989. He said that the country once able to export rice has now come to the stage of importing it. Expressing his dismay over the fact, he added, “It’s easy to blame others. But what have we done since 1989?” 

Likewise, chief guest at the programme and President of Chamber of Industries, Morang, Shiv Shankar Agrawal called for a strategy based on four pillars for the development of the country. According to him, the four pillars should be Service Sector, Manufacturing Sector, Agriculture Sector and Natural Resources. He added that even if it is necessary for the time being to send the youth, the crucial human resource, for foreign employment, they should be provided with proper trainings before they go abroad. He also called for removing the non-tariff barriers imposed by India on Nepal’s exports. On a different note, he added that both Nepal and India should be vigilant on containing the rise of illegal trade across the open border

Another participant, Dean at the Purbanchal University’s Faculty of Management, Professor Dr. Khagendra Acharya called for developing a ‘win-win’ situation for both Nepal and India so as to avoid bilateral tension between the two countries. He was of the view that a link road connecting the SAARC nations and China should be constructed for the development of the eastern Nepal. 

Similarly, Industrialist Surendra Golchha stressed on the need of agricultural development in order to ensure overall development of the country. He said efforts should be made to reduce the production costs so as to effectively commercialize the country’s agricultural sector. Pointing at the possibility of attracting a significant number of tourists in the eastern region, he added that the tourism prospects and infrastructural quality of the region should however be bolstered to make it a reality. 

Former lawmaker and a leader of Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Jaya Ram Yadav, said that the country’s development would not move ahead unless there is an improvement in the relationship with India. He added that mere blame game would not help resolve the matter. CPN-UML’s representative Keshav Prasad Gautam said that the Nepal-India bilateral treaty of 1950 should be revoked. Former Chief Executive Officer at the Nerude Micro-Finance Company, Mani Kumar Arjyal drew the attention of all to the fact that the microfinance companies are facing difficulty in finding a sector where to invest as there is a lack of a long-term strategy on microfinance. He said that the provision of identity cards for citizens of both Nepal and India should be made mandatory for cross-border travel. 

At the beginning of the programme, Editor-in-Chief of Aarthik Abhiyan Daily and New Business Age monthly, Madan Lamsal explained the objective of the programme and said that the programme focusing on the development issues of the country’s eastern region was organized at Biratnagar simply because no others than the people of eastern region would be as concerned and determined for the development of this region. 

Altogether 150 persons participated in the programme representing different political parties, the business community, academics, social activists and government officers. Among them were First Vice President of Auditors Association of Nepal Mohan Subedi, Morang District Development Committee’s Pitambar Wasti, PABSON Morang’s former chairman Khamba Singh Basnet, Chamber of Industries, Morang’s first vice-president Mukesh Upadhyaya and Women Networks’ Sanju Sah.

National Life Gets New Building 
On the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the National Life Insurance, the chairman of the Insurance Board (Beema Samiti) Dr. Fatta Bahadur KC inaugurated the company's modern commercial building located at Lazimpat in Kathmandu on March 22, 2016. The building was constructed with the prior approval of the insurance board and has incurred total cost of Rs. 200.61 million. The eight-storey 51,759 sqft building has double basement parking area of around 16,721 sqft that can accommodate 75 vehicles and the rest 6 stories have a total area of 35,038 sqft.  Constructed with earthquake resistant technology, the building has water treatment plant, 24 hour power back up system and central air conditioning facility.

Asia Leading in Tourism: Prof Dr Kaye Chon
A leading Asian academician has said that Asia has to produce the human resource required to lead the world tourism market. Speaking at a daylong workshop organized in the capital on Feb 7, Prof Dr Kaye Chon, Dean of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said Asia has to take up the new responsibility as this century belongs to Asia. 
“The balance of economic power has shifted from Europe and America to Asia; and China is leading that in Asia,” said Prof Chon, “Asia’s tourism industry, too, should take a lead in this transformation.” The workshop, titled ‘Human Resource Development in Tourism Industry’, was organised by PATA Nepal Chapter at GATE College in Kathmandu.

Stating that the number of Asian tourists travelling to different countries around the world has been rising, Prof Chon said Asia itself is a huge market as 80 percent of the tourists of Asia are from the same continent. “Now, the ‘rainbow tourism’ led by Asian tourists is growing in the whole world. This is a concept of diversity in tourists in terms of colour, features and languages,” said Chon.

He added that though the American and European tourists formed a majority of tourists visiting the Asian countries in the past, now the number of tourists from China, India and other Asian countries is rising sharply.

“As the West was a major source of tourists for this area in the past, the high-level managers of our hotels would be westerners. But now we have started producing our own competent human resource required by the hospitality industry. The local human resource has to take the leadership now,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, chief executive officer of Nepal Tourism Board, Deepak Raj Joshi said  China and India are not just the two most populous countries of the world but also huge markets for Nepali tourism.

Similarly, PATA Nepal Chapter President Suman Pandey said Nepal needs to go ahead adopting a special strategy to revive its tourism industry which has been badly hit by the April 2015 earthquakes and India’s unofficial blockade.

Likewise, CEO of GATE College, Khem Lakai said as tourism played a major role in Nepal’s economy, revival of the tourism industry meant the revival of the whole economy.

The workshop was attended by 200 students from nine different hotel management colleges and other stakeholders of the tourism industry.

Sarawagi Group Supports School 
The Sarawagi Group has provided school desks and benches worth Rs 500,000 to Siddhartha Secondary School in Birgunj. The managing director of the group, Bijaya Kumar Sarawagi handed over the one hundred set of desks and benches to the school at a programme on February 13. 

Cabinet Endorses Action Plan to do away with Current Energy Crisis
The government has endorsed the action plan on doing away with the electricity shortage within a couple of years. The decision has come in the midst of prolonged energy crisis in the country.

The meeting of the council of ministers held at the prime minister's residence on February 17 endorsed the scheme. The cabinet meeting has also declared National Energy Crisis Alleviation and Electricity Development Decade. Energy Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi said that the government was planning to expedite works on electricity generation to relieve the public from persistent power cuts. He said the load-shedding would be drastically reduced in a year and completely removed within two years. 

The plan includes completion of 22 power projects within the current fiscal year and 16 more projects by the end of next fiscal year. The ten-year plan envisages 11 hydropower projects based on reservoir with a combined capacity of 5,373 MW. 

The action plan read out by government's spokesperson Sher Dhan Rai to media persons, pledges to do away with the general electricity scarcity within a year. As per the action plan, the government would also be able to mobilize army in case of any kind of obstacle to power generation and project construction. The decision has come at a time when stakeholders have been complaining that works related to hydel projects had been repeatedly obstructed by political party cadres and local residents. The plan also has a provision to ask the banks to increase their investment in the power projects.  

The plan is criticized for being heavily dependent on India for the power supply. According the concept paper, 930 MW (or 49.89% of the projected supply) is to come from India so as to end the power outage during winter. It also has plan to supply solar power of 200 MW and introduce the system of net metering in the urban areas.

Inspire Nepal 2016 Biz Expo
Inspire Nepal 2016 business forum and expo will be held in Kathmandu from March 10 to March 12. Organisers of the expo said the event will be a networking platform for stakeholders and professionals from various private and public sectors to generate business, develop relationships, gather knowledge and acquire expertise through creative interaction. 

The expo is slated to gather 800 business and development professionals, with 60 speakers, 30 knowledge sessions and 10 networking events. Organised by the House of Rajkarnicar in collaboration with a host of knowledge partners, the event is expected to contribute to Nepal's socio-economic development through trade and investment growth both domestic and international.

Foreign Trade Declines
Nepal’s international trade declined by 28.9 percent in the first six months (till mid-January) of the current fiscal year 2015/16 compared to the same period last year. According to the preliminary statistics of the Trade and Export Promotion Centre, total foreign trade is at Rs 330.83 billion in this review period while it was at Rs 427.18 billion in the same period last fiscal year. 

From mid-July to mid-January both total export and import have gone down. As per the statistics, export stood at Rs 31.44 billion while the import was Rs 272.39 billion. 

Export to Nepal’s major trading partner, India decreased by 36.3 percent hitting Rs 17.29 billion and import also decreased by 36.2 percent standing at Rs 155.98 billion. Hurdels at major custom points affected the export and import numbers, according to the centre.

Industrialist Lunkaran Das Chaudhary Passes Away
Industrialist Lun Karan Das Chaudhary, the founder of Chaudhary Group, passed away at the age of 93 on February 4.  His last rites were performed at Pashupati Aryaghat on February 5 amidst the presence of large number of dignitaries from political and business field. Chaudhary breathed his last while getting treatment at Norvic International Hospital. He was suffering from diabetes and heart problems for a 
long time. 

Born as the elder son of Bhuramal Chaudhary and Sarashwoti Devi in B.S. 1979 at Indrachowk, Kathmandu, Lun Karan had entered business field as help to his father who came from Rajasthan, India. But he soon diversified also in industries, beginning with jute, while continuing the trading on cloth. 

After the death of his father, he did business under the banner ‘Bhuramal-Lunkaran’. His sons expanded further under the banner Chaudhary Group which has gone now international and his eldest son Binod Chaudhary has made into the list of world’s billionaires as compiled by Forbes. 

He was a champion of chamber movement and was among the founders of different chambers and business associations such as Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Nepal Marwadi Sewa Samiti. His three sons; Binod, Basant and Arun Chaudhary are running different businesses under the Chaudhary Group. His only daughter, Kusum Agrawal, too, is in a business house.

Pharmaceutical Pioneer Amatya Passes Away
Managing Director of Nepal Pharmaceuticals Laboratory (NPL), Mahendra Amatya has passed away at the age of 65. Established 32 years ago, NPL became the country’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturer under Amatya’s leadership. Producing around 200 varieties of medicines, the company was the first to produce medication for psychiatric illnesses, heart disease and diabetes in Nepal. Excelling in education, his career encompassed politics, teaching, contractual services and finally pharmaceutical production. 

Ncell, Flowminder Win at Global Mobile Awards
A joint initiative of Ncell and Flowminder Foundation to identify the displacement and pattern of people’s movement to better  target the humanitarian support after the devastating earthquake of April 25, 2015, has won the award for ‘Mobile in Emergency or Humanitarian Situations’ at the GSMA’s Global Mobile Awards 2016. Rajesh Lal Nyachhon of Ncell along with Linus Bengtsson and Erik Wetter of Flowminder accepted the award at a function at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Ncell CEO Erim Taylanlar, said, “The initiative received great response from the humanitarian aid community to channelise support effectively after the earthquake last year.”

Agriculture Resort Opens in Chitwan
A new resort with a holistic and organic based approach to service has opened in Devnagar, Chitwan.

The Retreat Agriculture Farm, built at a cost of Rs 700 million, has brought the production of organic food products and the idea of a pure agriculture based farm resort to the forefront.

The owner, Debu Lohani said the resort has 18 well facilitated rooms and provides self cultivated vegetables and milk to its guests. Guests will also be able to see traditional equipments like dhiki, jato, mana, pathi, mandro, gundri etc which have almost disappeared from the country’s villages.

New Solutions in Advertising 
Search Solutions Pvt. Ltd. a new venture specialized for below-the-line (BTL) advertising has been launched. The company promises to provide service and solutions to all parts of the country from a multi talented group of professionals who have served at various levels with renowned organisations with almost 20 years of experience.

Prize Distribution of 10th Toyota Dream a Car Contest
United Traders Syndicate, the authorized distributer of Toyota for Nepal has announced winners of local competition of 10th Toyota dream car contest. Company distributed prize and certificates to the winners amidst a programme organized 
at Vaidya's Organization of Industries and Trading house on 25 February, 2016. 

There were more than 1000 aspirants from different parts of the country who enlisted their name for the contest from November 2015 to March 2016, said the organizers. Three persons from each group of participants are selected for the next round of contest. Those winners will participate from Nepal in a worldwide competition that will be held in Japan.

Toyota started the Toyota dream car art competition since 2004. There were more than 875 thousand applicants from different areas of the world in 2015 in which entry from Nepal was able to get a position in top 20.

Every winner from each group was awarded Rs. 5000, while those holding second position were awarded Rs. 3000 and those holding third position were awarded with Rs. 2000 along with certificates.

IME Participates in UN-OHRLLS
Chairman of Global IME Bank Chandra Prasad Dhakal, who is also the Executive Chairman of IME Group, addressed a one-day special thematic event on “Building synergy and coherence in the implementation of Istanbul Programme of Action in the context of the 2030 Development Agenda” organised at the UN headquarters on February 11. 

Representing the private sector, one of the major implementation stakeholders from the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Dhakal briefed the participants on the role of the private sector in general and the situation of Nepal in particular. 

During the interactive panel discussion, Dhakal underscored the role of the private sector in meeting the goals set by the Istanbul Programme of Action and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and stated that LDCs should recognise the role of the private sector as an engine of economic growth to fund the investment gap. He also stressed the need of remittance, investment and other measures to bridge the investment gap. He insisted on the creation of a conducive environment for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to come into Nepal which is looking forward to graduating from an LDC to a developing country by 2022. Achieving this target requires a steady double digit growth for the remaining period, he added. 

The event was addressed by ambassadors of the Member States of the UN, representatives from non-government organisations, private sector, academic institutions and civil society. Dhakal was invited by the President of 70th Session of General Assembly and the event was organized by UN-OHRLLS

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