October 22: The government has initiated the process to form a powerful independent authority to monitor and regulate the operations of public institutions.
The Ministry of Finance has sent a draft of Public Company Operation and Management Bill to the Ministry of Law for approval.
At present, insurance companies are regulated by the Insurance Board Nepal, Nepal Stock Exchange (NEPSE) by Securities Board and Nepal Telecom by Nepal Telecommunication Authority.
Meanwhile, other public entities like Hetauda Cement, Udayapur Cement, Nepal Airlines Corporation, Gorkhapatra Sansthan, Nepal Electricity Authority, Nepal Oil Corporation, Dairy Development Corporation, Nepal Food Corporation among others are governed by departments of concerned ministries.
Concluding that the regulation of the public entities by different bodies have been ineffective and that the organizations have not been able to progress, the Ministry of Finance has decided to form the autonomous body to oversee all the public companies, informed a high-ranking government official.
The source said that the finance ministry will present the draft bill to the Council of Ministers after being approved by the law ministry.
“The process to form a single body to regulate all public companies has been initiated to end the anomalies of the companies and to turn them into profit-oriented institutions,” said the official requesting anonymity.
The draft bill also proposes giving authority to the provincial government to establish public companies.
Experts, however, claim that this provision will once again turn public companies into recruitment centres of political parties.
According to the source, the proposed body has been given the authority to select the chiefs of public companies as well as to sack them.
The powerful body will also have the rights to determine scrapping public companies, privatizing them, or establishing a new entity.
The draft bill proposes appointment of chiefs of public companies by a team of experts while employees hired on contract basis will have to pass the tests. This, according to former secretary Bimal Wagle, will also commercialize public companies instead of politicizing them.