Nepal Today

Sunday, April 28, 2013

STOCK PRICES FALL SUNDAY Kathmandu, 28 April: Stock prices fell 3.32 points as Nepse closed 505.04 points Sunday on the fist day of five-day trading. Altogether 448, 747 shares were traded for Rs.90.356 million in 1066 transactions. nnnn. GOVT. TO KEEP CRIME CONVICTS OUT OF ELECTION FRAY Kathmandu, 28 April:: The government is preparing to retain the provision of barring individuals convicted of serious crimes from contesting fresh Constituent Assembly elections, The Kathmandu Post writes., . The UCPN (Maoist) and the Madhes-based parties are against the proposed amendment to a clause of the Constituent Assembly Member Act 2007 that bars those convicted of criminal offences from standing for polls. The ongoing dispute over the provision has delayed a Cabinet decision on an ordinance that defines the eligibility of candidates. A government source gave a hint about a ‘tentative agreement’ to keep the persons convicted of rape, corruption, bank defaulters, money laundering and serious crimes from contesting election s. A draft proposed by the Election Commission (EC) states that a person convicted of murder, theft, robbery, misappropriation of foreign currency, kidnapping, rape, human trafficking, money laundering, bank irregularities, passport misuse, drug abuse, smuggling and jail break, among others, or those who have committed acts showing moral turpitude cannot run for polls for six years. “We have concluded that the individuals convicted of serious crimes will not be allowed to contest polls but we may narrow down the list of crimes to find a meeting point,” said the source. “For the common good we are likely to retain the provision of the 2007 Act and make the ordinance remain silent on the number of years that those individuals would be ineligible to contest election s.” Last week, President Ram Baran Yadav had called on the government to finalise the Act as soon as possible by adhering to the international standards required to run for polls. “The law will be finalised and the poll date will be announcement very soon. We are discussing ways to address the concern over imposing a ban on the individuals convicted of criminal offences,” said government spokesman and Minister for Information and Communications Madhav Prasad Poudel. An alliance of the agitating parties and other fringe parties have been opposing the threshold of one percent for securing seats under the proportional representation system. The government is holding informal discussions with the EC and the agitating parties to address the threshold issue. Nnnn OVER 1,000 NEPALIS DEPORTED FROM SAUDI ARABIA Kathmandu, 28 April: Saudi Arabia has deported over 1,000 Nepali migrant workers, who were working illegally in the Islamic kingdom. A report of the Nepali embassy in Riyadh shows it issued travel documents to a total of 1,087 Nepalis in the past one month to facilitate their return, The Kathmandu Post writes. . There has been a sharp rise in the number of arrests and trend of self-admission to detention centres among workers in the wake of the Saudi government’s recent decision to crack down on the local companies employing the illegal workers. “Migrant workers with illegal status are having a tough time. The government has launched an action against companies hiring illegal workers,” Nepali Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Udaya Raj Pandey told the Post over the phone. Pandey said the embassy is also having tough time to manage documents and giving legal assistance to migrant workers facing arrest. According to him, the embassy is acutely understaffed to handle the cases of deportation as it has to deal with around 25 dead bodies and provide assistance to around 30 housemaids every month. The embassy currently has only seven staff, including labour attaché and local recruits. After Malaysia and Qatar, Saudi Arabia is the third biggest work destination for the Nepalis with around 600,000 workers, of which over 70,000 are reportedly working without legal permits. However, the deportation process is a very complicated affair. Under kafala, the system that governs the working lives of every foreigner employed in Saudi Arabia, workers cannot change jobs or leave the country without their employer’s permission. The embassies have to provide the legal assistance in order to clear hurdles to obtain the exit visa. “Workers are forced to wait at least several weeks in the jail-like detention centre before being deported ,” Pandey said. Last week, Saudi minister for Labour Adel Fakeih had announced a tougher initiative beginning next month, will also see police officers deployed to effectively implement the ministry’s directives. The Saudi government, according to Fakeih, will deploy around 1,000 new inspectors to monitor the employment agencies and illegal workers under the initiative. Of the total 9 million foreign workers, an estimated 2 million are working illegally in Saudi Arabia. The country has already deported 900,000 workers over the last 18 months. The new measure is an extension of the “Saudization” programme called Nitaqat (ranges or zones), introduced in June 2011 by Saudi Labour Ministry aimed at creating job opportunities for its nationals, especially youths, by replacing a small percentage of the foreign workforce. The programme requires companies operating in the kingdom to reserve a certain percentage of their workforce for the Saudis. For instance, any company with more than 10 and up to 49 workers are required to have to set aside a 10 percent quota for the Saudis. Depending on their level of compliance, the enterprises are categorised into four zones—Excellent, Green, Yellow and Red. Those complying with Nitaqat norms will be rewarded, while those failing will be categorised as ‘red’ and closed down. nnnn


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