Issuu on Google+

R&D Economic Research & Business Development

Date: January 22, 2010

Highlights •

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has on Thursday dubbed defense minister Bidhya Bhandari's controversial statement on the issue of army integration as "irresponsible", reiterating that the government doesn't subscribe to her views. President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav conferred the title of Honorary General of Nepal Army to Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor amid a special investiture ceremony held at the President's Office, Shital Niwas on Thursday. Nepal has scored 52.7, making its economy 130th among 188 nations in economic freedom, according to the 2010 Index published by Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal. "Its score is 0.5 point lower than last year, reflecting declines in five of 10 economic freedoms due to political instability," said the report. Defense Minister Bidya Devi Bhandari said Thursday that she stands by her Tuesday’s statement that bulk integration of PLA combatants will not be acceptable even if the Special Committee for Army Integration headed by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal so recommends. Nepal has no financial crisis, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) acting governor Krishna Bahadur Manandhar said today. “Financial crisis seen in market in recent months has been resolved, he said addressing the 43th anniversary function of Agriculture Development Bank Ltd (ADBL) here. The government will give agricultural loans at low interest for tiding over the food shortage occurring every year. National Planning Commission announced this at a seminar here on Wednesday. Global Bank Ltd has launched three kinds of visa credit cards targeting domestic (Nepal and India) and international market from Thursday. Global visa credit card can be used in visa brand merchant outlets and the owner can take loan up to 90 per cent of card credit limit. F1 Soft International on Thursday launched eSewa (esewa.com.np), an online payment service that provides payment facilities through the internet. The company has been providing internet banking, SMS banking, utility payment gateway and mobile-based payment to banks in the country. A three-day SARI (South Asian Regional Initiative) 145 Catch up Seminar organised with an aim to bring uniformity in modalities and procedures of aircraft maintenance amongst the SARI affiliated countries concluded on Thursday in Kathmandu.

1


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

The government's programme to provide state privileged identity cards to people under the poverty line this year is most unlikely to materialise as the responsible agencies have not done any significant homework to make it happen. Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Thursday launched the muchawaited collective trademark logo of Nepali pashmina with the brand name "Chyangra Pashmina" in the local market setting a milestone in branding and quality assurance. A stakeholders' meeting regarding the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur Cross-Border Transmission Line Project between Nepal and India, which was held on Jan. 20 and 21 in New Delhi has reached the decision to construct a 140 kilometer, 400 kV transmission line with a carrying capacity of 1000 MW. The dream of flyovers easing the perpetual traffic snarl in the Capital may turn into reality at last, with China stepping up support in this regard. “China has informed us that their technical team will visit Nepal this month to assess the feasibility of the project and its cost,” said Purna Kadariya, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW). The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) in coordination with Nepal German Chamber of Commerce and Industries (NGCCI) and Honorary Consulate of Nepal in Stuttgart organised a press conference on Jan. 19 at Caravan, Motors and Tourism International Fair (CMT) in Stuttgart, Germany. The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is introducing the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) project, a system that will describe the size and economic contribution of tourism to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in aggregate. The number of Nepalese workers leaving for overseas jobs has increased by 3.27 percent during the first six months of fiscal year 2009/10 as compared to the figures of same period last year, thanks to improving economy in most of the labor destinations. UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said on Thursday that expansionist India was behind the murder of then King Birendra Shah because he was a nationalist. Addressing a mass meeting at Bardia district headquarters Gularia, the Maoist chief said that the expansionist power had murdered Shah and his entire family for his attempt to purchase arms from China and other countries. UCPN (Maoist) General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa has said that the cantoned People Liberation Army (PLA) combatants could be mobilised against meddlesome foreign forces. “We will direct the PLA fighters to fight a war if any foreign power centre tries to interfere in our internal affairs and encroach upon our territory,” said Thapa at a programme organised by the Maoist party’s Bhojpura-Madhesh State Committee. 2


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

The three main parties - UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, and CPN-UML registered a joint resolution motion at the Parliament Secretariat on Thursday directing the government to reactivate the post of Vice President Parmananda Jha after he takes the oath in his mother tongue. A meeting of the Army Integration Special Committee (AISC) on Thursday expressed its severe objection to defense minister Bidhya Bhandari's recent statement that her ministry and Nepal Army (NA) would not be compelled to abide by the decision of the AISC on the issue of army integration. The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered the National Human Rights Commission to scrap its move to make its temporary staff permanent, saying that it violated the constitutional provision on right to equality. After police failed to arrest the mastermind—a Maoist—behind Wednesdays’ fateful Gothatar shooting, enraged locals and kin of the murdered child took to the streets demanding action against the culprits.

POLITICS: PM comes clean on Bhandari's statement; dubs it 'irresponsible' Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has on Thursday dubbed defense minister Bidhya Bhandari's controversial statement on the issue of army integration as "irresponsible", reiterating that the government doesn't subscribe to her views. Speaking at a meeting of his party UML at its headquarters in Balkhu, Kathmandu, he said that he wants to see all the Maoist combatants discharged from the cantonments where they are currently kept by the time the country has a new constitution, adding further that the integration and rehabilitation works can be speeded up after that. The rejoinder from PM Nepal comes a day after he telephoned minister Bhandari and sought her over her statement that her ministry and Nepal Army (NA) cannot be compelled by the Prime Minister Nepal- led Army Integration Special Committee to abide by any decision on the issue of army integration. Refuting media reports about her controversial statement, Bhandari said that she had just conveyed that representation of her ministry and the NA should be ensured in the special committee if any decision has to be made regarding the issue of army integration. The government had on Wednesday clarified that Bhandari's remarks were her personal views and doesn't not reflects its official position. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: January 21, 2010

3


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

President confers Honorary General of NA to Gen Kapoor President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav conferred the title of Honorary General of Nepal Army to Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor amid a special investiture ceremony held at the President's Office, Shital Niwas on Thursday. Kapoor was conferred the honorary General title to uphold a six-decade long tradition between the Indian and Nepali Army to honour each other's army chiefs with the title of honorary general. Indian President Pratibha Patil had conferred Honorary Rank of General of the Indian Army to Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Chhatraman Singh Gurung during the latter's visit to New Delhi, India about a month ago. Meanwhile, Indian Army chief Kapoor held separate parleys with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Defence Minister Bidhya Bhandari today. The meeting between the Prime Minister and the Indian Army chief held at the PMO in Singha Durbar dwelled mainly on military cooperation between the two countries and their defence concerns, it is learnt. Likewise, Kapoor met Defence Minister Bhandari at the Ministry of Defence. According to Bhandari, the Indian army chief said India was ready to provide all kinds of military assistance including weapons if Nepal requested for it. The Indian Army chief who arrived here on Tuesday for a three-day trip had earlier met his Nepali counterpart Chhatraman Singh Gurung and visited Mustang and Kaski districts, inspecting the NA installations there. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: January 21, 2010

POLICY: Nepal mostly un-free economy, says report PORT LOUIS:Nepal has scored 52.7, making its economy 130th among 188 nations in economic freedom, according to the 2010 Index published by Heritage Foundation and Wall Street Journal. "Its score is 0.5 point lower than last year, reflecting declines in five of 10 economic freedoms due to political instability," said the report. Nepal ranked 28th among 41 countries in the Asia Pacific region, and its score is below world and regional averages. It falls in 'mostly un-free' category according to its score. Countries that score from 50 to 59.9 are in mostly un-free category while those scoring 60 to 69.9 are moderately

4


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

free, 70 to 79.9 mostly free and 80 to 100 are freest economies. Those scoring 0 to 49.9 are repressed. Seven countries fall in freest category, 23 in mostly free, 43 in moderately free, 55 in mostly un-free and 36 countries in repressed economies. "Nepal's economy is marked by rapid population growth and inadequate economic growth that have led to widespread chronic poverty," the report said. "Weak reform efforts have failed to stimulate broad-based economic growth," it added. The report hails the state's bid to boost private sector development but says political instability has weakened the country's ability to implement economic reform or create a stable environment for development.. Although reforms in Nepal's trade regime are slowly having an effect, the average tariff rate remains high, according to the report. "Foreign investments must be approved or face licensing requirements. Lack of transparency, corruption, and a burdensome approval process impede much-needed private investment growth. Property rights are undermined by the inefficient judicial system, which is subject to substantial corruption and political influence." The report measures 10 components of economic freedom and their scores are averaged to give an overall economic freedom score for each country. This time, the UK, the US and China rankings fell while Poland, Turkey and Mexico rankings improved significantly. Hong Kong remains the world's freest economy, followed by Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. Regionally, in Asia-Pacific region, Nepal ranks 28 out of 41 economies. But in South Asia, Nepal is behind all countries except Bangladesh. Source: www.thehimalayantimes.com Date: January 21, 2010

I stand by my words: Nepal’s Defense Minister “I stand on what I have said earlier over the issue of PLA merger into the Nepal Army”, said Defense Minister Bidya Devi Bhandari talking to reporters, January 21, 2010. “It is an unlikely proposition and I am still rigid on it”, said the Minister. Minister Bhandari talked to journalists at the Ministry of Defense, Singh-Durbar, Kathmandu immediately after holding talks with the visiting Indian Army Chief Deepak Kapoor. “I have been talking on the same line since the beginning…while I was not even a minister”, she continued. Mrs. Bhandari has been labeled as an agent of India Army Chief by the Unified Maoists’ Party.

5


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

“The Prime Minister has so far not demanded any clarification from me over my remarks”, Bhandari told journalists. Mrs. Bhandari on Tuesday out of nowhere making a highly controversial remark had said that the bulk integration of Peoples’ Liberation Army men was not acceptable even if the Special Committee on Integration favored the proposition. The Maoists’ party chief Prachanda criticizing the defense minister said “It can’t be a mere coincidence the Nepali leaders representing the government and the Indian Army Chief were sharing similar views on Integration.” The government of Nepal has already claimed that Bhandari’s remarks were her personal and that did not represent the official stance of the government. Nepal’s Defense Minster Mrs. Bidhya Devi Bhandari has been at the center of controversy for her frequent off the cuff remarks mainly targeting the Unified Maoists’ Party. Her critics say, in her entire tenure as the Minister for Defense either she is found visiting New Delhi or at best found criticizing the Unified Maoists’ Party of Nepal. Source: www.telegraphnepal.com Date: January 21, 2010

BANKING: No financial crisis here, says NRB Nepal has no financial crisis, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) acting governor Krishna Bahadur Manandhar said today. “Financial crisis seen in market in recent months has been resolved, he said addressing the 43th anniversary function of Agriculture Development Bank Ltd (ADBL) here. The financial market had encountered liquidity crunch due to excessive inflation in the last four months. “Now there is no more financial crisis,” he said. “Some problems exist in deposit and lending and these will be solved soon.” NRB has applied all tools to make the financial market efficient, he added. Manandhar urged ADBL to focus on rural area where competition is low. “You can expand modern banking services easily in villages,” he said adding that the risk in investment was also low in villages. He also suggested exploring new markets beyond traditional practices. ADBL has 241 branches including 94 banking offices throughout the country. ADBL should not go far from agriculture sector, said Finance Secretary Rameshwor Khanal.

6


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

Agriculture is Nepal’s potential area of growth. “There are lots of opportunities in this sector, ADBL should explore joining hand with farmers and agri-entrepreneurs,” he added. Commercial banks have low investment in the agriculture sector — below average 5 per cent of total investment. ADBL has negative worth of Rs 5.45 billion and it has asked the government to give it a bail-out of Rs 3.5 billion. Also, it will issue shares to the public through initial public offering (IPO) soon to enhance capital base. ADBL is opening an IPO of Rs 960 million — the largest in the country’s history — 30 per cent of its Rs 3.2 billion capital this year. ADBL significantly increased its financial performance in the recent past. Its bad loan decreased to 9.71 per cent in the fiscal year 2008-09 while net profit increased to Rs 1.72 billion. The bank has Rs 35.16 billion deposit while lending and investment is Rs 38.30 billion. Source: www.thehimalayantimes.com Date: January 21, 2010

Agri loan to tackle food crisis The government will give agricultural loans at low interest for tiding over the food shortage occurring everey year. National Planning Commission announced this at a seminar here on Wednesday. It said small irrigation projects will be expanded and agri-loans given to target groups. The food shortfall is 300,000 to 400,000 metric tonnes annually. NPC member Dr Ramdev Singh ex[pressed concern over the decrease in the area of agricultural land and pointed out it was happening due to the plotting of land in the name of urbanization and housing. Source: www.thehimalayantimes.com Date: January 21, 2010

7


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

GBL’s credit card Global Bank Ltd has launched three kinds of visa credit cards targeting domestic (Nepal and India) and international market from Thursday. Global visa credit card can be used in visa brand merchant outlets and the owner can take loan up to 90 per cent of card credit limit. Source: www.thehimalayantimes.com Date: January 21, 2010

BUSINESS & ECONOMY: eSewa online payment F1 Soft International on Thursday launched eSewa (esewa.com.np), an online payment service that provides payment facilities through the internet. The company has been providing internet banking, SMS banking, utility payment gateway and mobile-based payment to banks in the country. The company said that users could process their payments with just a few clicks. The service is available 24 hours a day. According to the company, eSewa is available in two modules -- B2B and B2C. B2B module outlets like cyber cafes can register with eSewa and accept payment for utilities and other services. In the B2C module, anyone can register and use the services. "We are providing attractive discounts on the services through eSewa to encourage online transactions. A Rs. 500 recharge card costs only Rs. 492.50 through the service, and we offer discounts of 2-5 percent on Buddha Air tickets," the company said. Laxmi Bank is the settlement and partner bank of the company. It plans to add a new bank as partner bank each week. It also plans to launch mSewa, the mobile version of eSewa. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010 Seminar on bringing uniformity in aircraft maintenance concludes A three-day SARI (South Asian Regional Initiative) 145 Catch up Seminar organised with an aim to bring uniformity in modalities and procedures of aircraft maintenance amongst the SARI affiliated countries concluded on Thursday in Kathmandu.

8


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

During the Seminar, which kicked off on January 19, Nepal's senior technicians related to aircraft safety and maintenance belonging to Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) and private airlines operators were briefed about SARI 145, prepared by SARI 45 Working Group. Bonod Kumar Gautam, Deputy Director General, CAAN, said that experts belonging to Europe as well as SARI imparted necessary information on aircraft maintenance to Nepali senior technicians. The seminar also decided to harmonise the Nepalese Civil Airworthiness Requirements (NCAR) with SARI Part-145 in order to address practical difficulties while maintaining Nepali aircraft. Speaking on the occasion, president of SARI underscored the need of the implementation of SARI Part-145 by bringing uniformity in aircraft maintenance acts of the countries affiliated to SARI. According to Gautam, the outcome of the seminar could play vital role in enhancing the level of air safety in South Asian region. He also claimed that Nepal had sound air safety record. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: January 21, 2010

Poor may not get privileged identity cards The government's programme to provide state privileged identity cards to people under the poverty line this year is most unlikely to materialise as the responsible agencies have not done any significant homework to make it happen. The government's populist programme aims to provide concessional access to health, education and the public distribution system to such identity card holders. "Such card holders will also get first priority in getting goods subsidised by government agencies," states the budget of the current fiscal year. The Finance Ministry said that the job of framing the policy and the modalities of distribution have been given to the National Planning Commission (NPC). However, NPC secretary Yubaraj Pandey said that the NPC had no programme to provide such identity cards in this year's calendar. "Our main priorities are preparing another interim plan and streamlining the budget for another year with the next interim plan," he said. The NPC has started preparation for the next interim plan which will start from the next fiscal year He, however, said that there had been some rounds of discussions on the issue.

9


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

Pandey added that giving identity cards to the poor could help attain the goals of the targeted programmes for the poor. Senior economic advisor at the Finance Ministry Keshav Acharya said that the NPC had been given the responsibility of doing the necessary homework to execute the budget. "I have also been unable to continue following up the issue regularly," he added. Secretary of the board of the Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) Raj Babu Shrestha said that PAF was computerising the records of households under the poverty line in their programme areas that covers 40 districts currently. "The government will use our database to provide identity cards to extremely poor people," he said. He added that distributing state privileged identity cards was largely impossible given the current level of homework. PAF is an agency under the NPC. Neglect of the poor No homework to provide state privilaged cards to the poor Card holderes to get concessional access to health, education and public distribution system No programme of card distribution in NPC’s annual callende MoF says responsibility rests on NPC PAF says it has been computerising list of poor households Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010 Chyangra Pashmina trademark launched Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Thursday launched the much-awaited collective trademark logo of Nepali pashmina with the brand name "Chyangra Pashmina" in the local market setting a milestone in branding and quality assurance. The trademark is Nepal's first internationally registered brand name. It has so far been registered in all the European Union countries, Japan, Norway and Australia. The Nepal Pashmina Industries Association is also in the process of getting the logo registered in 20 other countries including the U.S.A., Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Finland and Brazil. "The launch of the logo will help boost the export of pashmina discouraging fake pashmina in the international market," said Prime Minister Nepal addressing the launching ceremony. "As the pashmina also carries the image of quality pashmina in the international market, the government will provide any type of support to enhance exports." Prime Minister Nepal also suggested that pashmina traders should maintain the 10


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

quality of the product and deliver the consignments on time to maintain strong hold in the international market. Jubilant Pashmina traders said that the country would see a rise in the export of pashmina products by six or seven times after the launching of the brand name and completion of trademark registration in major pashmina importing countries. "After three years of continues effort, we have been able to launched the brand name officially," said Shankar Prasad Pandey, president of the NPIA. "The launched of the trademark will help Nepal to sell quality pashmina products setting a standard around the world." On the occasion, Suraj Vaidya, acting President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry said that it was not only pashmina but overall image of Nepal is important in the international market. "The trademark will let the world know what Nepal can offer," said Vaidya. According to a Nepal Rastra Bank report based on the first four months of the current fiscal year, pashmina exports registered a 70.7 percent growth during the period. Nepal sold pashmina worth Rs. 677.8 million during the first four months. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010

Transmission line in offing A stakeholders' meeting regarding the Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur Cross-Border Transmission Line Project between Nepal and India, which was held on Jan. 20 and 21 in New Delhi has reached the decision to construct a 140 kilometer, 400 kV transmission line with a carrying capacity of 1000 MW. During an earlier stakeholders' meeting, which included representatives of the Ministry of Energy, Nepal, Nepal Electricity Authority, India's IL & FS, and Power Trading Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL), PTC India Limited and Independent Power Producers (IPP) held on Nov. 9, 2009, India had agreed to construct a cross border transmission line with a carrying capacity of 3000 MW. According to one of the participants of the meeting held in New Delhi, the Indian parties decided to construct the transmission line with a carrying capacity of 1000 MW only, stating that the construction of the 3000 MW line would delay the project construction period to more than nine months. Likewise, Indian parties also stated concern over the capacity of the Muzaffarpur station in India stating that it could not hold a capacity of 3000 MW of power supply. Dr. Sandeep Shah, executive director of Independent Power Producers of Nepal (IPPAN) said that the meeting held in Kathmandu last year had reached the decision to construct the 400 kV double circuit transmission lines with a holding capacity of 3000 MW and that the private sectors would provide needed financial support for the 11


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

construction of the cross border transmission lines. “The construction of transmission lines with a capacity of 3000 MW would have increased the cost by around 30 percent. Private power promoters were ready to invest for the shortfall,” Shah said. The construction of the stated construction lines would have speeded up projects including Tamakoshi III, Arun III, Balefi, and Dudhkoshi, which are currently being developed by local and international independent power producers to export power to India. However, private power developers will now have to construct other lines parallel to the cross border transmission lines along Dhalkebar-Muzaffarpur. “The projects will have to go through a number of procedures including the Environment Impact Assessment, and this could ultimately hamper the construction of the projects,” said Shah, adding, “The decision comes as a short term remedy for the country, though there was a need of long-term solution to solve the power crisis.” The construction of the cross border transmission lines is scheduled to begin this September and will be completed in next 18 months. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010 Finally, flyovers in sight The dream of flyovers easing the perpetual traffic snarl in the Capital may turn into reality at last, with China stepping up support in this regard. “China has informed us that their technical team will visit Nepal this month to assess the feasibility of the project and its cost,” said Purna Kadariya, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW). He said the team was arriving here on the invitation of the ministry. China had, in principle, agreed to provide assistance for construction of flyovers in Kathmandu Valley last year. The flyovers, to be built with Chinese grant, will be constucted by Chinese contractors. The current budget has also mentioned construction of flyovers in Kathmandu. The MoPPW has already selected three locations within the valley for flyovers and notified China about it. The selected locations are Kalanki, Chabahil and Maharajgunj. However, the specific details are yet to be worked out. “The Chinese technical team will identify specific points for the flyovers,” said Kadariya. A month ago, China had asked the government to fix the locations where the flyover were to be built, according to Finance Ministry officials. Work will begin after the Chinese team submits its assessment report to both the Nepali and Chinese governments, according to MoPPW officials. The technical team will also finalise the timeframe for completing the project.

12


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

The tasks remaining after submission of the technical team’s reports include: Appointment of project manager, acquisition of land and determination of compensation to those whose lands are acquired, according to MoPPW. China is providing assistance to build flyovers from its annual grant assistance to Nepal worth 150 million Yuan (Rs. 1.62 billion) beginning this year. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010

Nepal promo held at CMT The Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) in coordination with Nepal German Chamber of Commerce and Industries (NGCCI) and Honorary Consulate of Nepal in Stuttgart organised a press conference on Jan. 19 at Caravan, Motors and Tourism International Fair (CMT) in Stuttgart, Germany. Addressing the meet, Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) Sarat Singh Bhandari spoke about the government's commitments to promote tourism of Nepal with the theme of "Together for Tourism" under Nepal Tourism Year 2011 campaign, said a press statement issued by the NTB. "Nepal carries immense potential in hydropower, tourism and agriculture therefore the government plans to attract investment in these sectors with higher priority," he added. Having tremendous opportunity in tourism sector, the government in line with the objectives set for Nepal Tourism Year 2011, plans to disperse tourist arrivals to rural areas of Nepal, Bhandari added. The minister made a note of appreciation to all the people who have been good friends of Nepal over the years and have helped reform the image of the country as an attractive destination in the world. "Nepal welcomes you all in the year 2011," he added. Ambassador of Nepal to Germany Suresh Pradhan, Honorary Consul General of Nepal Ann Katrin Bauknecht, president of the NGCCI Rohini Thapaliya and renowned summiteer Reinhold Messner attended the programme. During the meet, Reinhold Messner made a positive note on Nepal and shared his experiences about his visits to Nepal over the years. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010

13


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

TSA to assess tourism’s contribution to GDP The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is introducing the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) project, a system that will describe the size and economic contribution of tourism to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in aggregate. "With the implementation of the TSA, tourism's direct gross value added and the tourism direct gross domestic product will be shown separately in the national account that will estimate the overall contribution of tourism to the GDP and macroeconomic analysis of tourism," said Rabi Prasad Kayastha, under secretary at the Tourism Ministry. The move has been taken as the country does not have a tourism statistics base. The Tourism Ministry is coordinating with the Central Bureau of Statistics and the Nepal Tourism Board for this initiative which will form a technical committee within a month, added Kayastha. "Compilation of the statistics will be done under the World Trade Organisation's recommendations that have set 10 outlines of incorporating data in the TSA," he said. More than 50 countries around the world have adopted travel and tourism satellite accounting. The International Labour Organisation has defined human activities under 17 categories. However, tourism activities have not been included in these activities as this sector is related with accommodation, food and beverage and air transportation, among others. "However, the TSA will calculate the separate credible and comprehensive measurements of tourism value from these activities," said Kayastha. For example, the Central Bureau of Statistics and Nepal Rastra Bank calculate the contribution of tourism to the GDP and the macroeconomic indicator from foreign exchange earnings. However, accommodation, food and beverage and air transport, among other activities, are not counted as tourism's contribution. "The TSA will calculate the total output and employment data, its value-added contribution, outbound, inbound visitors by means of transport, domestic supply and internal tourism consumption," he said. Tourism entrepreneurs said that the move would form an indispensable statistical instrument that would allow the country to measure the relative size and importance of the travel and tourism industry along with its contribution to the GDP. A preliminary draft of the project will be released within five-six months, and after the report is issued, the ministry will work with the concerned stakeholders. Similarly, a nine-member TSA technical committee will be formed under the coordination of the under secretary of the project and infrastructure development department at the Tourism Ministry.

14


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

The committee will consist of a member each from the Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal Rastra Bank and the Nepal Tourism Board. It will also include five invitee tourism experts. The proposed budget for the project is estimated at Rs. 1.87 million. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010

Departures of overseas workers up 3.27 pc The number of Nepalese workers leaving for overseas jobs has increased by 3.27 percent during the first six months of fiscal year 2009/10 as compared to the figures of same period last year, thanks to improving economy in most of the labor destinations. According to Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), a total of 126,081 left for foreign jobs between mid-July to mid-January, up from 122,081 last year. A total 91,379 male and 2,703 female left for greener pastures abroad through foreign employment agencies. Foreign employment agencies have attributed the rise in the number of workers to rising demand from major destinations on the back of recovering economies after a long period of slackness. “We have received encouraging demands from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. Demands from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have also been going up gradually,� said Tilak Ranabhat, president of Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA). Last year, Malaysia and the UAE had announced to limit the number of migrant workers amid deepening financial crisis. Economies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, however, were less affected by the global meltdown. Though the number of overseas workers surged over the period, economic recession caused remittance growth to contract as compared to last year. According to Nepal Rastra Bank, remittance growth stood at 6.6 percent to Rs 67.74 billion during the first four months of 2009/10. The government had received Rs 63.45 billion as remittance in the first six months of 2008/09, up 65.9 percent as compared to figures in the same period last year. Though the number of overseas workers increased during the period, not all the destinations saw rise in the number of Nepali workers. The number of Nepali workers to Saudi Arabia and Malaysia - the largest and second largest job destinations for Nepal - went up to 30,067 and 35,940 respectively over the period, up from 25,444 and 24,049. However, departures of Nepali workers to Qatar and UAE went down from 40,526 and 17,957 to 28,448 to 17,191 respectively.

15


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

The number of Nepali workers leaving for different labor markets increased to 25,280 during mid-December to mid-January, up from 24,605 recorded in the preceding month. According to DoFE, Qatar and Malaysia received 5,765 and 7,865 Nepali workers over the period, up from 5,689 and 7,456 recorded a month ago. UAE also saw the number of Nepali workers increase from 2,934 recorded last month to 3,900 in the review period. However, departures to Saudi Arabia declined to 4,949 from 5,442 recorded a month ago. Source: www.myrepublica.com Date: January 21, 2010

GENERAL:

‘India behind royal massacre’ UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said on Thursday that expansionist India was behind the murder of then King Birendra Shah because he was a nationalist. Addressing a mass meeting at Bardia district headquarters Gularia, the Maoist chief said that the expansionist power had murdered Shah and his entire family for his attempt to purchase arms from China and other countries. Stating that Shah was a true nationalist, the former prime minister said the late king wanted to meet him five years after his party started the People’s War. He reiterated that the expansionist power had also killed UML leader Madan Bhandari as he clearly stood for nationalism. The chief of the one-time rebels further added that the then Army chief had to take responsibility for the assassination, as he had failed to provide security. “The Army should be held accountable for the royal massacre,” he demanded. Dahal claimed that Defence Minister, Bidhya Devi Bhandari, had started to speak on behalf of the foreign army chief to foil the peace process in the country. “A minister is trying to push the country into civil war by breaching the Comprehensive Peace Accord,” Dahal said. He also demanded that all unequal treaties with India since the Sugauli Treaty be abrogated. The Maoists had organised the mass meeting under its ‘People’s Awareness

16


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

Campaign for National Sovereignty’ which is part of their fourth phase protest programme. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010

Thapa: PLA fighters could be mobilised UCPN (Maoist) General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa has said that the cantoned People Liberation Army (PLA) combatants could be mobilised against meddlesome foreign forces. “We will direct the PLA fighters to fight a war if any foreign power centre tries to interfere in our internal affairs and encroach upon our territory,” said Thapa at a programme organised by the Maoist party’s Bhojpura-Madhesh State Committee in memory of activists Ram Prakash Yadav, Dara Yadav, Ambika Mahato and Rajesh Mandal, whom unknown armed groups had murdered recently. “The government, with help from India, is trying its best to make our party LTTE. But we will make the government bite the dust,” said Thapa. He blamed India for protecting the murderers of the four Maoist cadre. He went on to claim that plots were being hatched to derail the peace process and dissolve the elected Constituent Assembly.

‘We have no lust for power’ POST REPORT MYAGDI, JAN. 21 Toppling of the government will not end people’s woes, said UCPN (Maoist) Vice Chairman Baburam Bhattarai. “Our party is working to change the system rather the government since the change of system helps end poverty, injustice and oppression,” he said speaking at an interaction organised by Nepal National Employees’ Federation in Myagdi on Thursday. Bhattarai arrived in Myagdi in the morning to attend a mass meeting in Beni as party of his party’s fourth phase of agitation. “Our objective is to establish the people’s federal democratic republic,” the former finance minister said. During the interaction, he also called on government employees to shun the traditional and conservative mindset. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010 17


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

VP post to be revived The three main parties - UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, and CPN-UML registered a joint resolution motion at the Parliament Secretariat on Thursday directing the government to reactivate the post of Vice President Parmananda Jha after he takes the oath in his mother tongue. Jha can assume his office after taking the oath in his mother tongue once the parliament endorses the bill tabled to amend the Interim Constitution, according to the resolution. The seventh amendment bill, which boasts of the provision of the oath in mother tongue, is pending at the House. The joint resolution has come at a time when Madhes-based parties are opposing the amendment, saying that such a move cannot reactivate Jha's post. They have demanded the incorporation of retrospective provisions in the bill. Jha's position became defunct since the Supreme Court (SC) scrapped his oath which was taken in Hindi - six months ago. In its verdict the SC stated that Jha could not perform any duties as vice president and that he is not entitled to special security and privileges provided by the state. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010

AISC takes a strong stand against Defense Minister's statement A meeting of the Army Integration Special Committee (AISC) on Thursday expressed its severe objection to defense minister Bidhya Bhandari's recent statement that her ministry and Nepal Army (NA) would not be compelled to abide by the decision of the AISC on the issue of army integration. She also opposed the Maoist demand for bulk integration of their combatants into NA, and demanded representation of her ministry and the Army if any decision has to be made regarding the issue of army integration. The meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office in Singh Durbar this morning affirmed that the decision made by the special committee for the upervision, integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants will be "final" on all issue concerning the army integration. Talking to media-persons after the meeting, chief government secretary and AISC spokesperson Madhav Ghimire said that the meeting confirmed that the decisions of the special committee on the army integration issue would be final as the Interim Constitution has given it full authority over the matters related to army integration, maintenance and rehabilitation. Also speaking to media-persons, Maoist leader Barsha Man Pun, who is the party's representative in the special committee, stated that the defense minister's remark had 18


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

challenged the authority of the special committee headed by the prime minister himself and was clearly against the peace process. He said that his party has demanded action against the defense minister for her controversial statements which he had earlier said was intended to derail the peace process. Speaking at the meeting, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal had assured that the government was committed to timely statute drafting and taking the constitution to a logical conclusion. He said that Bhandari's statement were her personal views and did not reflect the government's official position. Source: www.nepalnews.com Date: January 21, 2010

Gothatar Shooting: Maoists confirm cadre’s involvement After police failed to arrest the mastermind—a Maoist—behind Wednesdays’ fateful Gothatar shooting, enraged locals and kin of the murdered child took to the streets demanding action against the culprits. Ten-year-old Santosh Karki was shot dead and three others were injured when UCPN (Maoist) Kavre District Committee Adviser Ratna Lama and his sons used armed gangsters against locals, who had been objecting to Lama’s dumping of construction material on the roadside. Local Maoist leaders, who confirmed Lama’s association with the party, have announced they will take action against him and his accomplices. “We will help the authorities bring him to book if found guilty,” said Dinanath Gautam, Kavre District In-charge of UCPN (Maoist). The locals and the victim’s family, who staged demonstrations and obstructed vehicular movement on Thursday at Koteshwor, have warned they will not stop protesting till police bring the culprits to book. “We’ve launched a massive manhunt for the culprits and hope they will soon be nabbed,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Ganesh Bahadur Ayer. Police have raided some suspected hideouts in Kathmandu. Palden, one of Lama’s three sons who is still at large, was already a wanted man in connection with public offence cases, according to police records. Locals handed two of the armed gangsters—Pasang and Rameshwar—to police. Lama is a construction contractor and a former president of Nepal Construction Entrepreneurs Association, Kavre. Police sources said Lama and his sons used to resort to crime to grab tenders.

19


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

Santosh, the child killed in the firing, was a second grader at Bhimeshwor Academy, Gothatar. He was killed while returning home after observing Saraswoti puja ceremony at his school. Source: www.ekantipur.com Date: January 21, 2010

SC scraps NHRC move on staff The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered the National Human Rights Commission to scrap its move to make its temporary staff permanent, saying that it violated the constitutional provision on right to equality. The apex court also declared null and void a provision in the regulations concerning terms and conditions of service of NHRC staff as the regulations were amended without meeting legal requirements. A special bench of Justices Ram Prasad Shrestha, Tahir Ali Ansari and Mohan Prakash Sitaula issued the order to this effect in response to public interest litigation filed by advocate Meena Khadka. “Implementation of such a provision will prevent people [other than temporary NHRC staff] from competing for posts at the NHRC," the justices said in their ruling. The constitutional human rights watchdog headed by former chief justice Kedar Nath Upadhyaya last July initiated the process of making 80 temporary staff permanent through unilateral amendment of its regulations despite objections from the Public Service Commission (PSC), another constitutional body, and the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM). But advocate Khadka went to court in September against the NHRC move. Khadka argued in the petition that the temporary staff in question were initially hired at NHRC for specific donor-funded projects but once the projects were phased out they were appointed at the national human rights watchdog to official positions on contract basis without meeting the existing standards. “This is the first step toward democratizing the NHRC," said advocate Madhav Basnet, who pleaded at the SC against NHRC´s bid. Article 126 (3) (a) and (b) of the constitution says that any public body, including the NHRC, is required to consult the PSC over issues concerning laws and regulations related to staff and appointment of new employees. But NHRC had not consulted the PSC while introducing the amendment to the regulations. The amendment opened the door to making all temporary staff permanent. The decision to make temporary staff permanent was not unanimous even within the NHRC. NHRC member Dr Leela Pathak had written a note of dissent in the minutes of the decision, saying that such a move was unconstitutional and would encroach 20


R&D Economic Research & Business Development

upon the constitutional jurisdiction of the PSC. She had also maintained that the decision violated the general public´s right to take part in free competition. The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, the constitutional anti-graft body, had written to OPMCM five years ago, drawning attention to irregularities over hiring temporary staff at the NHRC. Source: www.mryepublica.com Date: January 21, 2010

21


R&D_NewsBrief_22ndJan