Sunday, July 26, 2009

Governor Bhattarai starts second innings

"I am back home," said reinstated governor Bijaya Nath Bhattarai today, promising to continue the fight against the financial mafia. "The support of my collegues was my moral strength," he said addressing Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) employees -- who had been waiting for him the whole day.
Immediately after taking charge, Bhattarai said the monitoring and supervision capacity of the central bank have to be enhanced. "Mushrooming banks and financial institutions have not contributed to the real sector's growth," he said adding that the increase in number has rather encouraged unhealthy competition. He was also against urban-centric banks and financial institutions. "There are more opportunities in semi-rural areas," he said advising them to serve the rural populace.
Bhattarai opined that the country needs a few but strong banks and financial institutions rather than many weak ones. "Merger and Acquisition (M&A) should be encouraged to make stronger banks," he added.
Asked if the Monetary Policy announced by his predessesor could be changed, he said that Monetary Policy is the central bank's policy, and so it would not make any difference who brings it. "It iss a team of NRB that works on it and mere change of governor will not have any impact on it," said Bhattarai. However he was of the view that SLR -- the policy brought after 17 years -- was not necessary.
"Whatever good work that my predessesor Kshetry did, I will continue," he assured. "Others like the liquidation case of Nepal Development Bank (NDB) I need to look into. NDB should have improved when NRB declared it a problematic bank and had also issued a slew of directives but it did not improve and today it has been sent to the court for liquidation," Bhattarai added.
The continution of financial sector reform programme, good governance, accountability, transparency, lowering the NPA of Rastriya Banijya Bank and Nepal Bank Ltd, shareholder access to information are some of challenges for NRB, according to him.
On the occasion, the then NRB executive director Surendra Bahadur Pradhan said that it took them two years and 15 days to get justice. "The financial mafiosi and conpiracy against the central bank and its honest employee has been defeated," he said advising NRB employees to keep their morale high.
An emotional Pradhan also thanked the media and NRB employees for supporting him and Bhattarai throughtout the cooked up case against them.
The CIAA had filed a case at the Special Court against Bhattarai and Pradhan on June 29, 2007. The Special Court sent the case to the Supreme Court after it could not decide unanimously. The Supreme Court on July 15 acquitted them.

Kshetry discharged
KATHMANDU: The government discharged governor Deependra Bahadur Kshetry before reinstating Bijaya Nath Bhattarai. Kshetry -- after receiving the discharge letter from the finance ministry -- coolly walked out of the central bank and took a cab home. He was appointed by the erstwhile government on January 16 for a one-year term till January 31, 2010. NRB employees offered him a ride home but a composed Kshetri declined and took a taxi from the gate of the NRB . The Ba 1 Jha 7068 taxi rode him to home. However, he hinted at moving the court, as according to him, the discharge letter was not according to the NRB Act. Governor Bhattarai also praised his predecessor for his honesty and moral strength. "Kshetry is my friend," Bhattarai said adding that if he moves court, it will not hamper the day-to-day affairs of the central bank.

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