Nepal Today

Saturday, May 28, 2011



Kathmandu, 29 May: President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav certified the parliament’s approval by two-third majority a Nepal’s Interim Constitution (Ninth Amendment)-2068 BS

Speaker Subas Nemwang read out the letter received from the President’s Office certifying the endorsement in parliament Sunday
Parliament was adjourned until Friday
3 June after a marathon session passed an amendment bill to extend the constituent tenure for three months.


Kathmandu, 29 May: Nepal is backing Mohamed Bin Hamman in Tuesday’s election for President of FIFA, the governing body of soccer, in Tuesday’s election in Zurich, Switzerland.
Hamman is
challenging incumbent President Sepp Blatter.
“Nepal will vote for Hamman,” ANFA President Ganesh Thapa told Nagarik Saturday before emplaning for Switzerland to participate in the FIFA Congress.


Kathmandu, 29 May:The Global Fund (GF) has selected Nepal as a pilot country for its new plan for Health System Strengthening (HSS) support, The Rising Nepal reports.
In line with the Millennium Development Goals, the GF has been supporting 140 countries in HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB secors.
With an aim to find a sustainable solution to these three diseases and to increase the government’s ownership in the programmes, the GF has now come up with a new strategy and planning to support HSS, Gokarna Bhatta, co-coordinator of Nepal Country Coordinating Mechanism (CCM) said.
The GF sent a letter of interest to CCM a month ago and called to response within this May if it was interested to stand as a pilot country, Bhatta informed.
According to Bhatta, the CCM meeting was held and it decided to seek approval for Nepal as a pilot country.
The Ministry of Health said it was a great achievement for Nepal as it was selected among 140 countries.
After completing the process, the GF will assess Nepal Health Sector Implementation Programme-II before announcing the amount of grant, CCM said.


Kathmandu, 29 May: Ministry of Commerce and Supplies has asked Finance Ministry to double the budget for Nepal Trade Integrity Strategy programme, The Himalayan Times reports.

“It had been allocated Rs 30 million for the current fiscal year but for the next fiscal year, we have asked Rs 60 million to promote the domestic trade promotion and facilitation,” said national programme manager, Nepal Enhanced Capacities for Trade and Development (NECTRADE) under the ministry Shiva Raj Bhatt.

“Last year’s budget of Rs 30 million was utilised to place generator at the Airport

for the perishable goods’ godown, and remaining

was granted as a part of financial aid for cadmium testing laboratory and for AEC for the agricultural products,” he said, adding that they are trying to utilise government resource that will send positive message

to the donors making them serious towards government’s performance.

NTIS has currently roped in a number of donors that are willing to help study a particular product for its development.

According to him, the ministry has formed a Donor group with German aid agency (GIZ) as donor facilitator that organises meeting in every three months.

“The ministry has arranged two different Donor group meeting by now,” Bhatta said, adding that the first meeting of the Donor group focused on product information and the second meeting highlighted major activities of donors.

Third meeting of the Donor group — scheduled for Friday — however could not meet due to unavoidable circumstances. “It has been postponed for June 13,” he said, adding that the ministry is now preparing a donor matrix that will be helpful to get general idea about the major activities of donors.

“The donor matrix later will be forwarded to Finance Ministry,” Bhatta added.

The NTIS 2010 has suggested 19 product and services having maximum export potentials including seven agro-based products like large cardamom, ginger, honey, lentils, tea, noodles, medicinal and essential oil.

It is an update of Nepal Trade and Competitiveness Study 2004 and has been prepared at a time when the trade and economic situation of the country was under tremendous stress.

According to the strategy, the government — adopting the recommendations of NTIS into national development planning — has prepared plans under its regular budget.

Currently, international donor agencies are selecting their concerned products for the preparation of project proposals. Among the 19 different products, projects regarding tourism, ginger, and honey have already started, while project plans are being made for noodles, silver jewelleries, medicinal herbs and others.

According to Bhatt, more than number of donors being involved, they need to focus on coordination to avoid duplication in the same product.

Kathmandu, 29 May: The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) is all set to auction the land belonging to Nepal Recreation Centre (NRC) that operates four casinos in the country. NRC has around 3.5 ropanies of land and a house in Kalimati, The Kathmandu Post reports.

Over the last week, DRI informed NRC twice that if it did not pay the outstanding royalty dues within three days, its property will be auctioned. “We will issue an auction notice next week as NRC did not respond to our letters,” said a senior DRI official. “It can pay the dues until Monday to save the land.”
NRC’s two casinos—Casino Nepal and Casino Anna—have to pay Rs 130 million and Rs 110 million, respectively, as of May. The government has already frozen NRC’s bank accounts and assets.
NRC owner Rakesh Wadhwa is absconding after the government initiated action against his company. With Wadhwa on the run, Casino Nepal stationed at Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza has not paid salary to its staff for the last six months.
Wadhwa has already sold 50 percent stake in Casino Anna to two Indian buyers. “We have also warned the new management of Casino Anna to pay the dues at the earliest,” said the DRI official. “We hope it will pay the dues as it is operating well, unlike Casino Nepal.” With the Supreme Court opening the door for recovering royalty dues from casinos and even from hotels that own licenses, DRI also wrote to hotels that are issued licenses to operate casinos. “Hotel Soattee that houses Casino Nepal responded positively, saying that it is ready to pay the dues if NRC’s fixed and movable assets cannot cover the outstanding dues,” said the DRI official.
As per the agreement between Soaltee Hotel and NRC reached 18 years ago, the hotel has given the license and the property to NRC on lease for running the casino.
In response to DRI’s letter, Hotel Annapurna has made it clear that it is not liable to pay the dues as it was not the one who was awarded the licence. “Instead, the hotel has asked for our help to vacate Casino Anna from the hotel premises,” said the DRI official.
Annapurna International holds Casino Anna’s operating license. It was awarded the license when Annapurna International used to operate both Hotel Annapurna and Casino Anna.
DRI had also written to the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, asking it inform about the progress made regarding taking action against these casinos. “The ministry is yet to respond to our letter,” said the DRI official.
The Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has already directed the government to scrap licences of casinos not paying royalty. DRI Director General Shanta Bahadur Shrestha said his office will leave no stone unturned to recover the royalty dues.


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