Nepal Today

Thursday, August 30, 2012

UML AGAIN INVITES DISSIDENTS FOR TALKS SATURDAY Kathmandu, 31 Aug.: A renewed invitation has been sent by UML secretariat to dissidnts to sit down for talks to consider their nine-point demands Saturday. The letters were sent by Bishnu Paudel. Discussions will be held in the presence of Chairman Jhalanath Khanal. Party critics had been demanding a meeting with standing committee leaders. Nnnn 1ST MEETING OF BIG THREE TO FIND OUTLET Kathmandu, 31 Aug.: The first round summit meeting of the Big Three will be held at the residence of UML: Chairman Jhalanath Khanal to break a prolonged Deadlock by mid-September. The leaders will be assisted by two aides each. Parties empowered leaders to find an outlet to the deadlock that has created constitutional and political crisis. Nnnn NT SEEKS STRATEGIC PARTNER Kathmandu, 31 Aug.: A committee that was formed to recommend the government about the process of bringing a strategic partner at Nepal Telecom (NT) has prepared the draft of its report, Shiromani Dhungana writes in The Himalayan Times.. It has concluded that it will take at least two years to complete the process of bringing in a strategic partner if the process starts soon, a member of the committee informed. The government should remove the hurdles in the Public Procurement Act before inviting a strategic partner for Nepal Telecom, he said, adding that NT cannot compete with other telecom service providers due to the existing legal barriers. The committee has envisaged three stages to introduce a strategic partner at NT, according to the member. Nepal Telecom will present its status in the first stage and take feedback from firms which show interest in the second stage, he said, adding that the third stage will be transition management. “Handling of administration and management of the company in the process of bringing in a new strategic partner should be the main concern in the third stage.” The report has also mentioned the basic requirement of firms which apply to be a partner. “The report will address details of technical, financial and administrative aspects of bringing in a new partner for the state-owned telecom service provider,” he added. However, the committee is still mulling on whether to provide all the decision making rights to the Ministry of Information and Communications, he informed. Some members of the committee have suggested that the Finance Ministry should lead the process in introducing a strategic partner at NT, he said. The government had decided to divest at least 26 percent of NT shares to a foreign partner about three years back. NT has been asking the government to facilitate the process of bringing in a strategic partner to fight the growing competition from private operators. Nnnn NEPAL TO SIGN DRY PORT AGREEMENT Kathmandu, 31 Aug.: Nepal Freight Forwarders Association (NEFFA) has welcomed the initiative taken by the government to become a signatory to the Inter-governmental Dry Port Agreement, The Himalayan Times reports. According to the association, once Nepal signs the Inter-governmental Dry Port Agreement it will receive international recognition with its registration in the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP). “Along with the registration, Nepal will also be recognised in the Global Shipping Map,” said president of NEFFA Rajan Sharma. “As soon as Nepal gets the membership of the Inter-governmental Dry Port, it can directly receive its cargo through its inland container depot,” he said. On average, there is movement of around 15,000 containers in a month, but the number could vary, he said. “Once the cabinet approves the agreement, it will go for a ministerial level meeting with UNESCAP in February 2013,” he said. The Transshipment Agreement with India through this agreement will also help in direct export and import of goods through Nepali dry ports. “We are in the initial stages, but receiving such trade facilitation is a great achievement for our country,” said Sharma, adding that the association is looking forward to the government’s signature and discussion on the issue in October, which will finally forward it for the cabinet’s approval. According to the association, the Transshipment Agreement will also minimise transport and logistic costs. nnnn


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