Sunday, September 29, 2013

Business fraternity proposes donation pool for election

Business fraternity has proposed a donation pool to make funding of political parties for the Constituent Assembly (CA) election – that is planned for November 19 – campaign transparent.
“We propose to create a basket fund from the business community, who are willing to donate, which will distribute the donation to election campaigns of various political parties,” said president of National Business Initiative (NBI) Padma Jyoti, during an interaction with journalists here today.
The district chambers can open bank accounts for basket fund and the NBI will monitor the account from the centre, he added.
“The parties will be donated on the basis of number of seats they won in the last CA election or based on the number of candidates or any other best suitable modality which needs to be decided,” Jyoti said, adding that donations, by definition, is voluntary but political parties are intimidating most of the business community to make financial contributions for their campaigning. “There are 601 seats and more than 120 political parties, which have put huge pressure on the private sector.”
The basket fund or the pool can also be audited and would promote transparency, he added.
The NBI has been asking the Election Commission and political parties to make donations transparent and voluntary. The private sector has also suggested the political parties to accept account payee cheques and give receipts to the contributor.
“The political parties are positive on private sector’s suggestion and have agreed to accept donation through banking channel,” NBI’s general secretary Surendra Bir Malakar said, on the occasion.
However, the political parties should ensure that their contributors are not supporting them by disposing the dirty money,” Malakar added.
The private sector has also demanded an amendment in the Income Tax Act that will help them include donations in the company’s accounts.

Revenue Deaprtment to ensure effective billing system during festival

The revenue administration is starting a 10-day campaign to create awareness among the shoppers and making billing system more effective during the festival.
Inland Revenue Department (IRD) – in close coordination with Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights Nepal – is starting a 10-day intensive market monitoring’ campaign from tomorrow, informed the department here today.
The campaign will help make billing system more effective, director general of the department Tanka Mani Sharma said, adding that the festival will see more transactions but the lack of awareness among the public has encouraged the low billing that has hit the revenue mobilisation.
The department has thus decided to intensify monitoring that will help increase value added tax (VAT) mobilsation that has been falling short of the target in recent months, the department claimed.
“Billing is key to VAT mobilisation, but under billing has fuelled the revenue leakage hurting the government coffer, he added. “Awareness among the shoppers is a must to improve the billing system.”
The department aims at monitoring over 20,000 traders – including the Kathmandu valley and major cities across the country – up from over 15,000 it had monitored last year.
Some 100 teams, with five in a team, will be deployed in the major market across the country to inform the public about the billing, Sharma said, adding that the campaign will also help the department collect information about the traders, who fail to issue bills. “They could be brought to book.”
According to general secretary of Forum for Protection of Consumer Rights Nepal Jyoti Baniya, the culture of issuing bill has to be developed. “Such a campaign could make a big difference to educate the public on billing system,” he said, adding that the forum will also deploy around 55 individuals to help the campaign.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Nepal wants concerted efforts for sustainable development goals

Nepal has called upon all the UN member states to direct concerted efforts to complete the unfinished tasks of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Before embarking on the subsequent sustainable development goals post-2015, we have to jointly complete the unfinished tasks, said chairman of Interim Election Council Khil Raj Regmi, addressing the annual high-level debate of the UN General Assembly, today.
"There is a need to build on the foundation of the MDGs, leaving nobody behind in the global development efforts," he said, adding that any new development agenda that does not keep the elimination of extreme poverty at the center stage loses the spirit of sustainability. "We can hardly realise sustainable development when pervasive poverty, unsustainable consumption and production patters and spiraling environmental degradation are allowed to continue.”
The General Assembly has asked all the UN member states to set the stage for the post-2015 development agenda, which will be hammered out next year to define the global development in 2015 and beyond.
“It is an irony that one eighth of world population has to live without enough food at a time when 150 per cent of the earth's annual regenerative capacity is being consumed in total," Regmi said, “Nearly one billion people will still be forced to live in extreme poverty by 2015.”
"Looking at this unfair and unjust scenario, one can hardly envision global sustainability without a system of an economic growth and development that ensures the progress and well-being of people on this planet in an equitable, inclusive and judicious manner," he said, addressing the 193-member UN General Assembly.

Friday, September 27, 2013

National priority hydro projects to get Rs 1 billion

Finance Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala today directed the officials of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to expedite construction of hydropower projects under national priority in time. “The ministry will immediately provide an additional Rs 1 billion for national priority projects,” he said, talking to the state power utility.
The three mega hydropower projects – Upper Tamakoshi, Budhigandaki and West Seti – are the national priority projects, according to the government.
Koirala also promised to remove any policy hurdles that are blocking the smooth implementation of the projects. “The government, National Planning Commission, and stakeholders will hold discussion, if necessary for expediting the projects,” he said, adding that the projects promoted by the government must be completed in time.
The government is even ready to sort out problems like providing compensation for land to locals and issues with forest to expedite power projects and transmission lines construction.
The country is reeling under the scheduled long hours of power outage due to rising demand and lack of supply. The production costs of industries have gone higher making the local products less competitive also due to their additional cost for fossil fuel to run the industries.
The government is planning to reduce the customs to one per cent on imports of products for hydropower projects for effective and immediate implementation of load-shedding minimisation programme, Koirala added.
National Planning Commission (NPC) vice chair Dr Rabindra Man Shakya, on the occasion, urged the NEA to proceed with the projects that would give immediate result. “Government is ready to help the projects run smoothly,” he added.
If the government solves policy bottlenecks and provide financial support of Rs 1 billion, some four hydropower projects would be completed within one year, said chairman of NEA and energy secretary Bishwa Prakash Pandit.
Finance secretary Shanta Raj Subedi and NEA officials were also present in the meeting.

Anti graft body nets NOC trade union chief

The anti graft body today netted the state oil monopoly’s chief on charges of obstructing the investigation into the ‘illegal bonus’ case.
“Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) today arrested Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) Trade Union chairman Devi Prasad Neupane for obstructing investigation it had launched against the NOC officials,” informed the CIAA that has claimed that Neupane was obstructing the anti graft body’s investigation against top NOC officials, who were arrested on the charges of distributing bonus illegally.
Neupane has challenged the CIAA investigation against the acting executive director, director and managers by criticising anti-graft body’s investigation through various media. The NOC trade union has also halted the fuel distribution – making the people suffer – against the arrest of top NOC officials.
Neupane challenged the CIAA saying that he was responsible for the distribution of bonus as per the decision of the trade union and the CIAA should take him under custody, if it dares.
CIAA has also summoned former NOC executive director Digambar Jha.
Earlier, on Tuesday, the CIAA had arrested acting executive director Suresh Kumar Agrawal, director of Financial Department Nagendra Sah and managers Netra Prasad Kafle and Kamal Prasad Sharma, who had claimed  that they had distributed bonus under the pressure of the trade union.
Neupane, a senior assistant (non-gazetted, first class), has been chairman of the trade union of NOC for last 15 years and also a member of the board.