Nepal Today

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ram Chandra Paudel seeks UML vote

Kathmandu, 27 July: NC Vice-chairman Ram Chandra Paudel visited Jhalanath Khanal at his residence Tuesday morning and sought the support of UML chairman for his candidacy as prime minister.
But Khanal reiterated his demand for a government of ‘national unity’ or the election of a government chief with the support of 401 members in the 599-member parliament.
Khanal dropped out of the race in the inconclusive second round vote even though he had a simple majority but couldn’t muster the 401 seats demanded by the party.
UML central committee has decided a candidate in the third round vote 2 August should also collect 401 motes for election. UML said it will again abstain the third round voting
Paudel needs the support of both the UML and a front of four Madesh parties even for his election by simple majority.
The third round vote will be inconclusive should UML again abstain in the election process.
The direct meeting between Paudel and Khanal comes after Khanal supporters expressed dissatisfaction with the NC which earlier sought UML support in the election by courting Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.
Khanal supporters believe Nepal and influential member KP Sharma Oli engineered a strategy to prevent a communist government from taking over by pushing for a two-third vote in parliament.
There’s no constitutional or parliamentary requirement for a candidate to collect two-third vote in election of a government through simple majority.
The process will be endless should parties insist on two-third majority vote; no other candidate can replace Maoist Chairman Prachanda or Paudel—two contestants in the race for prime minister to succeed caretaker PM Nepal.
Meanwhile, US Ambassador Scott DeLisi held discussions with Khanal Tuesday amid the standoff.

Sushil Koirala, UNMIN chief hold discussions

Kathmandu, 27 July: NC Acting President Sushil Koirala and UMIN Chief Karin Landgren held consultations Sunday.
The meeting comes after Koirala said the tenure of the UN political body which ends 24 September won’t be extended.
He said this after UNMIN circulated a roadmap amongst three major political parties to integrate Maoist fighters in l5 months when the government wanted their integration before a constitution has to be promulgated in less than 10 months.
The UNMIN roadmap figured in Tuesday’s discussions.
Koirala and Landgren discussed the delayed peace process.

A pahadi killed in Morang

Kathmandu, 27 July: Bhupal Karki, 54, was abducted from Panipiya, Morang, and killed Sunday.
He was abducted by two motorcyclists.
This murder is the third abduction in the district in three weeks.

Travel ban to Iraq being lifted

Kathmandu, 27 July: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has directed concerned agencies to lift the travel ban on Iraq, Nagarik reports.
Nepal said this in reply to email messages from Nepali workers in Iraq.
The move will legalize the stay of Nepalis in Iraq.
Nepal’s Press Advisor Bishnu Rijal confirmed the exchange of emails.


Kathmandu, 27 July: Promoters of the 456MW Upper Tamakoshi Hydel Project Monday signed an agreement for the Rs 10.59 billion project—the country’s biggest power project..
Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will have a 41 percent state in the company, Karmachari Sanchaya Kosh, 20 percent, Nepal Telecom 6 percent, Rashtriya Beema Sansthan and Nagarik Lagani Kosh 2 percent each.
Locals of Dolakha, the project site, will have a 10 percent stake in the project while 10 percent shares will be floated amongst the public.
Nine percent shares have been set aside for employees.

Rift between Prachanda, Bhattarai resurfaces

Kathmandu, 27 July: Intra-party rift has further widened in the UCPN (Maoist) with Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai pushing for an end to the ongoing process of electing a new prime minister with a simple majority in the legislature-parliament, Republica reports.
Bhattarai has stated that the country would be better off reverting back to the consensus system as forming a majority-based government would not lead to the conclusion of the peace process and constitution drafting.
‘If the parliament fails to elect a new prime minister even for the third time on August 2, this process should be ended; the country cannot be held hostage to the parties’ indecision forever, On top of that, any majority-based government, no matter who leads it, cannot conclude the peace process and constitution drafting,” said Maoist leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, who is regarded close to Bhattarai.
But leaders close to Pushpa Kamal Dahal have accused that Bhattarai’s remark is against the party decision and dubbed it his ‘personal view’,

• Monetary policy Wednesday
KATHMANDU, July 27: -
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) is all set to make public the monetary policy on Wednesday although the central bank had delayed the process to wait for a new government.

Governor Yubaraj Khatiwada will be able to present a significant improvement in the balance of payment (BoP) situation with its deficit coming down to just around Rs. 3 billion. The BoP has remained negative by Rs. 15 billion until the first 11 months of the last fiscal year.

Generally, the monetary policy is brought in to support the financial and development target of the budget announced by the government.

NRB officials said the policy will incorporate programmes to address the increased trade deficit and promote export that resulted in the BoP deficit.

The monetary policy will also introduce some policies to substitute imports and provide some facilities to sectors with export potential. Central bank officials said they will add the list of goods that can be imported from India by paying in US dollars instead of IC.

According to NRB sources, the policy has provisions that will allow Nepali industries to help import substitution to get loans from foreign financial institutions.

The country faced the BoP deficit for the first time in two-and-a-half decades. With the liquidity crunch in the banking system, credit has been discouraged in certain sectors such as real estate. As such, the interest rate has gone up. The monetary policy generally addresses the financial health of the country, BoP and inflation.

The policy may not be able to address the BoP deficit and inflation alone because the first is also connected with the government’s fiscal policy and the latter is affected by non-economic factors.

Bankers have been demanding flexibility in credit policy. They are also demanding that the interest rate be lowered to loans going to the industrial sector, but the central bank is not in favour of lowering the rate.

With the Reserve Bank of India indicating an increase in the interest rate with the quarterly evaluation of the monetary policy on Tuesday, it will be difficult for the NRB to reduce the rate because the Nepali currency is pegged to the Indian currency.

However, the central bank will feel more confident while taking ambitious decisions, given the easing liquidity situation and increasing deposits in the banking system.

The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry has asked the central bank to fix the credit percentage in the productive sector. “The maximum interest rate for credits that go to the industrial sector should be fixed,” the FNCCI has recommended.

The Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) has suggested establishing asset Management Company to manage non-banking assets. It has also demanded a separate credit policy for land transactions and housing projects.


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