Nepal Today

Thursday, March 21, 2013

PRACHANDA VISITING DHANUSHA FRIDAY Kathmandu, 22 March: Maoist Chairman Prachanda is visiting Dhanusha Friday. The Maoist boss will participate in a programme to mark a remembrance ofan activist killed in the 10-year insurgency. Paachanda will also welcome UML politburo member Ram Chandra Jha into UCPN Maoist ahead of constituent assembly elections. nnnn JOURNLAIST MEET IN POKHARA Kathmandu, 22 March: The 9th general assembly of Confederation of Nepalese Journalusts egins in POkharaa Friday. Nearly 1,000 journalists are expected to participate. nnnn GOVT. TO DEFEND TRC FORMATION Kathmandu, 22 March: The government is all set to defend provisions in the recently endorsed Truth and Reconciliation ( TRC ) Ordinance which has been widely criticised by a section of international community including the Geneva-based UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Anil Giri writes in The Kathmandu Post.. In the wake of strong reservations against the newly enacted law from a section of Kathmandu-based diplomatic corps and a statement issued by the OHCHR Chief Navi Pillay on Wednesday, the government on Thursday prepared a 13-point position paper, categorically stating that the TRC process meets the international standard and allays concerns raised by the international community. The paper was jointly prepared by joint secretaries at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction and Ministry of Law and Justice. The Minister for Foreign Affairs Madhav Ghimire has called a meeting with European Ambassadors (EU Delegation, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Denmark, France, Russia, and Norway) on Friday morning to convey Nepal’s position on the controversial law. Nepali Ambassadors to United Nations and other international missions, including Shankar Bairagi in Geneva, will register a note at OHCHR headquarters, opposing Pillay’s statement. On Wednesday, the OHCHR chief Pillay expressed serious concerns over the passage of the TRC ordinance, which will empower a TRC Commission to recommend amnesties for serious human rights violators. Similar concern is being expressed by a section of diplomatic community in Kathmandu regarding the TRC Commission and some of the provisions in the TRC Ordinance, which they have termed ‘regressive, and short of international standards and practices’. While defending allegations that the ordinance was developed and passed in a secretive manner, without consultations with civil society, victims, families of the victims or even the national human rights institutions, the government’s position paper states that the TRC provisions were widely debated in the parliament and widely discussed among the concerned stakeholders, said an official privy to the paper’s content. On the issue of blanket amnesty, the position paper says that “the new amended TRC Ordinance has ensured the provision of prosecution and there is a sound legal ground to prosecute serious human rights violators.” On reconciliation process, the paper says that “it is not going to take place unilaterally and forcefully as has been alleged,” said the official. “The provisions of reconciliation will apply only after the consent of victims or their kin,” said the official. On the issue of prerogative to be given to Attorney General (AG) whether to forward cases for procreation or not after formation of TRC Commission, the government’s position paper stated that “the constitution has delivered an authority to AG as final authority to shelve cases or not. So it is purely a constitutional matter and needs to amend the constitution.” On Friday, the Chairman of Interim Election Government, ministers as well as Nepali diplomats based abroad will make their common position on TRC issue upon the 13-point position paper to bring uniformity and consistency among the government officials, it was agreed. Nnnn FDI PLEDGE INCREASES Kathmandu, 22 March: In an indication of foreign investors’ renewed interest in Nepal, foreign direct investment ( FDI ) commitments in the first-six month of current fiscal year have already surpassed those in the entire last fiscal yearm Ashol Thapa write in The Kathmandu Post. . In the first half of 2012-13, FDI commitments stood at Rs 9.53 billion, according to the Department of Industry (DoI) data. The figure for the last fiscal year (2011-12) was Rs 7.14 billion. If the trend continues, this year’s FDI commitments could be the highest in the last five years. The highest commitment in the last five years came in 2010-11, with investors pledging Rs 10.05 billion. As per the DoI data, 33 countries have pledged to invest in 149 projects in the first half. The commitments in the same period last year was Rs 3.37 billion for 107 projects. Government officials are buoyed by improving foreign investors’ interest on Nepal. “This is a positive development,” said Radhesh Pant, CEO of the Investment Board Nepal (IBN). “It illustrates the fact that investors are keen in investing in Nepal despite knowing the risk factors.” DoI Director General Dhruba Lal Rajbanshi attributed the growth in FDI commitments to the establishment of IBN and its activities and launch of investment portal, among others. The data for the first half throw interesting facts. The largest FDI commitment has come from Hong Kong — much higher than that coming from mainland China. Three investment proposals worth Rs 2.90 billion have been pledged from Hong Kong. This is the first time that such a huge FDI commitment has come from Hong Kong. The country received the second biggest FDI commitment from Spain although it is not a big foreign investor in Nepal. Spanish investors have pledged Rs 1.78 billion for three projects, according to DoI. The third largest investment commitment has come from United Arab Emirates worth Rs 1.12billon. The investment pledge from mainland China stood at Rs 981 million. India, which has historically been the biggest FDI contributor to Nepal, has made a commitment of Rs 780 million. However, in terms of the number of commitments made, China tops the list with 47 pledges, followed by India with 19 and South Korean and the United States with 10 each. The service sector is where the foreign investors have pledged the most money. In the first half, service sector attracted FDI worth Rs 4.03 billion, followed by energy and manufacturing sectors. Of the proposed FDI , service accounted for 42.28 percent. nnnn


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