Thursday, November 9, 2023

Government decides to open embassy in Portugal, appoints envoy too

The government decides to establish a residential Nepali Embassy in Portugal.

A meeting of the Council of Ministers held today took the decision to open a residential embassy in the Portugal, confirmed Minister for Communications and Information Rekha Sharma.

The meeting also decided to appoint Sanil Nepal as the first Nepali ambassador to Portugal, the government spokesperson added.

Though, some cabinet minister claimed that the government's decision to open Nepali Embassy in Portugal has come under Deuba's pressure, the government -- in the last week of October -- had struck a deal to establish a residential embassy in Portugal.

Currently, Nepal has 40 diplomatic missions abroad including 30 residential embassies, 3 permanent missions, and 7 consulates general, for which billions are spent annually from the state coffer. But the investment on these mission has been very nominal compared to the government spending. 

Diplomatic relations between Nepal and Portugal were established in September 1976. It is estimated that around 60,000 Nepalis are currently residing in this southern European country. 

According to the Constitution of Nepal-2015, the President appoints diplomats to their positions after their names are endorsed by the parliamentary hearing committee.

Though, opening a new embassy will incur a financial burden of billions of rupees annually, the government has not been able to lure investment and tourist with the help of these missions abroad. The embassy also has to play a role in strengthening bilateral ties while keeping in mind the interests of Nepal and the rights of Nepali migrant workers.

Though, economists and foreign experts are repeatedly suggesting that the number of embassies be reviewed, the government has been adding the foreign missions. The Prachanda-led government in its budget statement last May had said that it would review the number of embassies. 

Likewise, the cabinet today also passed the directives for operation of social media 2023 with some amendments.

Th meeting passed the directives presented by the legislation committee of the council of ministers with some changes, government spokesperson  Rekha Sharma added.

The Cabinet meeting has also passed the National Vocational and Skill Development Training Academy (Formation and Operation) Order 2023, and the National Vocational Training Center Development Committee (Formation) Order 2023.

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