Biz News Decemer 2015

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FM directs Customs Chief and Staff to Remain Committed to Increase Revenue
Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel has urged the Chief Customs Officer and staff of Bharirahawa Customs Office to be committed to the standardisation of customs office and the increase of revenue.

Paudel made the remarks during his inspection of the Bhairahawa Customs office in course of his participation in various programmes organised in the district. The minister assured that he would immediately forward the file on the infrastructure building and standardisation of the customs office.

“Get down to work, I do not go for colour, I see result. You should, therefore, focus on increasing revenue and giving timely and simplified services to the service seekers,” Paudel said.  Chief of the Bhairahawa Customs Office, Lawanya Kumar Dhakal informed the Finance Minister that the revenue collection had gone down by 5 percent in comparison with that of last year and by 15 percent against the target of the current fiscal year.

Customs Office Chief Dhakal intimated the minister that supply had not been smooth because of Indian blockade despite the absence of any obstructions at the border point. He also informed the minister that about 2000 transport vehicles were stuck on the other side of the border waiting to enter Nepal for three months. In a meeting with the media people at the airport earlier, Finance Minister Paudel had said the government was pondering over various alternative ways of addressing the problem seen in the supply system. Minister Paudel also said that diplomatic efforts were on to ease the supply system.

At a press conference organized by Press Chautari, Rupandehi, Paudel said that the problem we were facing was not a recent phenomenon but a legacy handed down to us by the past. For the solution of the problem, the government wants to move ahead with a plan for short, medium and long-term solution, the minister said.

He said that the focus of the government was to orient the country towards prosperity and to identify Nepal as a prosperous country in a short period of time by resolving the problems of supply and expediting the reconstruction of the infrastructures damaged by earthquake. Paudel admitted that the undeclared blockade of India had brought about serious and long-term negative impacts on the whole nation, various aspects of social life and bove all, the economy of Nepal.

Need for Local Dairy Industries Highlighted
The National Dairy Cooperative Association (NDCA) has demanded that the government bolster local milk production by formulating short and long-term policies. In a press conference organised on Nov 23, the NDCA stressed the need for a policy arrangement to give priority to indigenous dairy products.

Chairperson of the association Narayan Prasad Devkota highlighted the need for operating existing dairy industries to their full capacity and to start the operation of Chitwan Milk which has remained closed.

Nepal is said to be self-sufficient in milk and the dairy industry is one of the few industries which does not need import of raw materials. The entrepreneurs demanded the government subsidise powder milk production to end the situation of ‘milk holiday’. Devkota informed that Nepal Police and Nepal Army were consuming 60,000 litres of milk daily.

Describing how India’s blockade had affected the milk industry by also forcing farmers to observe a ‘milk holiday’, the dairy entrepreneurs called upon the government to take steps to promote indigenous dairy products in the country.

Learn from the Blockade, Say Experts
Various policy makers and experts have stressed on the need to increase trade diversification and meet food security at a programme organized to tackle the current crisis gripping the country in Kathmandu recently. The programme titled “Learning from the Economic Crisis: Impact and Lessons,” jointly organised by Alliance for Social Dialogue (ASD) and Nepal Economic Forum (NEF), brought together regional voices to understand the real situation on the ground and determine the actual impact of the blockade on all sections of society across the country.  

Purushottam Ojha, former secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, stressed on the need to enhance connectivity with China as a long term strategy. He also added that it could help establish Nepal as a trade channel between India and China.

Similarly, Dr. Surendra Labh, social researcher and political economist observed that with the current crisis, industries across eight south eastern Terai districts have either been closed or are on the verge of closing down causing entrepreneurs and youth to look at migration as an option. Likewise, Ajay Pradhanang, former president of the Nepalese Young Entrepreneurs Forum and member of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry discussed on how export oriented industries have been affected, as they are dependent on India for raw materials. Bhola Paswan, a freelance journalist from Saptari and contributor to various papers at the local and national level, highlighted the impact on the agricultural sector.

Chinese Companies Interested to Invest in Nepal
Various Chinese companies that had visited Nepal for the 15th Nepal China-Tibet Economic and Trade Faire held at Bhrikutimandap on 17th November signed deals to invest in Nepal during a bilateral meeting held in Kathmandu on November 18, 2015.

In a meeting jointly held by Nepal-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCCI) and Tibet Chamber of Commerce, dozens of Chinese investors showed their interest to invest in various sectors like agricultural inputs, textiles and electric vehicles.

Tribhuvan Dhar Tuladhar, 1st vice president of NCCCI and Sonam Topgyal, chairman of international affairs of Tibetan Chamber of Commerce, signed the agreement to build better trade relationship between Nepal and Tibet.

Islington Holds 4th Graduation Ceremony
Islington College organized its fourth graduation ceremony on Tuesday (Dec 1), issuing graduation certificates to their 250 students. The college is affiliated with Islington University of the United Kingdom and is a direct partner of London Metropolitan University (LondonMet). Dr Vince Hagi Da Bendi Bloise of LondonMet presented the certificates to the graduates, according to a press release.

The college has already provided graduation degrees to around 100,000 students and claims that most of their graduates have achieved high-ranking positions in Nepal as well as abroad.

Five-Star Hotel Proposed at TIA
The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has decided to re-forward the proposal to build a five star hotel at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) to the Cabinet. The ministry has recommended the government to lease the land and build the hotel under the Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model. The ministry had earlier approached the previous government with the same proposal. “For the fundamental agreement to provide the land on lease we are preparing to re-forward the proposal at the next meeting of the cabinet,” said MoCTCA secretary Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya. The ministry will also provide reports on the technical and financial aspects of the proposed project. The proposed site for the new hotel is owned by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). According to Thapaliya, the hotel will be built, owned and operated by a private company and its ownership will revert back to CAAN after a period of 30 years.

Govt just ‘Talking the Talk’ on Electric Vehicles
Though the government has recently given high priority to the operation and promotion of electrical vehicles after the fuel crunch due to India’s unofficial blockade, there is an absence of laws and regulations pertaining to such vehicles.  

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, at various times since the start of the fuel crisis, has repeatedly spoken on the need to introduce more electric vehicles and has even suggested the duty free import of electric vehicles and re-starting the capital’s trolley bus service. Similarly, Deputy PM and Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation, Bijaye Kumar Gachhadar, said the government will give priority to electric vehicles at the next meeting of the Parliamentary Development Committee.

However, experts have said that the government is just talking since there are no laws formulated on the use of electric vehicles.

Till date, the government has only approved an Environment Friendly Vehicles and Transportation (EFVT) Act (2014/15). “The necessary regulations, directives and other policies have not been put in place after the formulation of the EFVT Act,” said Electric Vehicle Association of Nepal President Umesh Raj Shrestha. He added that the government is not taking the matter seriously enough.

Meanwhile, insiders have claimed that progress still has not been made on the Route Study report which the Department of Transportation Management has submitted to the Ministry of Transportation.

Ncell Holds Thematic Seminars
Nepal’s leading telecommunication provider Ncell has organized thematic seminars to encourage the teams selected under the four categories of Ncell App Camp 2015. On November 24, the company organised a seminar or Games and Entertainment.

A press release fro Ncell said the seminar informed the participants about the possibilities of applying mobile apps in games and entertainment areas, growing demand of mobile apps, getting access to global market and payment gateway constraints through training as experts from the fields discussed the issues.

Kiran Krishna Shrestha, team leader of Nepalaya, Bhaskar Dhungana, founding director of QFX Cinemas, Rajan Maharjan, co-founder and senior iOS developer of Game Developer, and Deepesh Paudel of Sarwanam Theater showed their participation as panelists of the seminar.

24 teams received one-to-one mentorship on business modeling, and user interface and experiences before the initiation of final competition. The best team in each category will win a cash prize of Rs 250,000 and a grand winner from among them will win an additional cash prize of Rs 500,000 as well as an opportunity to participate in an international event in 2016.

A total of 37 teams have been selected under Games and Entertainment for the Ncell App Camp 2015.

Similarly, Ncell organised a thematic seminar on tourism on Nov 25. The seminar was focused on providing additional knowledge to teams developing tourism related apps. During the half-day seminar, experts from the sector discussed the challenges and opportunities the app developers can expect to come across and suggested participants to come up with simple, user friendly, interactive and good content loaded apps.

The final competition will held on December 12, 2015. The best team will win cash prize of Rs 5, 00,000 and an opportunity to participate in an international event in 2016.

High-speed internet service in valley
Meanwhile, Ncell has introduced a new high-speed Internet service in the Kathmandu valley. The leading mobile service provider of the country has completed its network upgrade in the valley, enabling its subscribers to use high mobile data speeds of up to 21Mbps.

“The upgraded network enables our customers to surf the internet, stream videos and connect with remote family and friends in the valley with data speeds of up to 21Mbps” said Ncell CEO Erim Taylanlar. He added that the data speed of up to 21Mbps will make internet surfing even easier, faster and more reliable amid increased demand for data.

 “We will upgrade capacity outside the Kathmandu Valley as well” Taylanlar said.

Ncell has also added more towers to increase coverage. The upgraded network covers most of the areas that have faced network problems due to dismantling of towers by the earthquake.

KFA Organises Graduation Ceremony
KFA Business School has awarded degrees to more than 300 MBA and BBA graduates at its Graduation and Annual Day Function. Prof Dr Guna Nidhi Neupane, Rector-TU, Senior Officials from Ministry of Education, KFA Academic Council Members, Board Members and Senior Executives were at the occasion which was held on Nov 21.

KFA, which is affiliated to Vinayaka Missions University, India was established in 2001 and has been conducting various academic programmes, such as MBA, BBA and BHM since 2009. Besides offering academic programmes, KFA is also involved in imparting various structured training programmes and delivering consulting services to its corporate, governmental and individual clients.

Economy in Critical Shape: PM
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said that the country is headed for a serious economic crisis because of the massive April 25 earthquake followed by India’s unofficial blockade. Addressing the nation for the first time after being elected the Prime Minister a month ago, Oli in a televised message on Nov 15 said Nepal is facing problems despite drafting “one of the best constitutions in the world.” At a time when government ministers and bureaucrats are hesitating to use the term ‘blockade’ officially, PM Oli in his speech clearly stated that India has imposed an unofficial blockade against Nepal.

The PM said the blockade has affected industries, business, tourism, customs and revenue mobilisation. He also promised that the government will bring an action plan to provide relief to the industries affected by the blockade. The PM said the blockade has triggered a short supply of construction material which in turn has affected the rebuilding of the homes destroyed by the earthquake. “The government is ready to move ahead by holding talks with all the parties which are dissatisfied with the new constitution,” said the PM. Oli also requested the Indian government withdraw the blockade and ease the flow of goods carriers through Nepal-India border points.  The PM said Nepal-India relations are “not as smooth as before” because of the blockade.

Mobile Service Reaching More: NTA
Latest data from the Nepal Telecommunication Authority (NTA) has shown that mobile service coverage has reached 167 percent of Nepali population.

The speed of expansion of infrastructure in rural areas and competition among service providers may have increased the high penetration, said NTA Chairman Digambar Jha. “The data is based on the number of sold SIM cards,” he said. “It cannot be described as total reach.”

According to NTA, a total of 10.16 million people are using the internet in Nepal which is 44.11 percent of the total population. Out of them, 10.11 million are using the internet through GPRS, IDGI and 3G technologies. Similarly 0.1 million people are using the internet through Dial-up technology, 53,050 through Optical Fiber technology, 67,251 through cable modem, 0.15 through ADSL, 0.19 through CDMA-EVDO, 13,531 through Y-Max and 13 through V-SAT.

Nepal, China Agree to Open Seven Trade Points
Nepal and China have agreed to operationalise seven more border trading points. The agreement to this effect was signed during the 28th Nepal-China Annual Border Customs Meeting held in Kathmandu from November 2 to 7. Deputy Director General of the Department of Customs (DoC), Damodar Regmi and his Chinese counterpart, Long Chengwei inked the deal on behalf of their respective governments. The meeting also decided to reconstruct infrastructures and resume operation of major trade points such as Khasa-Tatopani and Rasuwa-Kerong which were damaged by the April 25 earthquake.

According to the agreement the custom points will be set up at Kimthanka of Sankhuwasabha, Korala of Mustang, Olangchangola of Humla, Lamabagar of Dolakha and Mugu where export-import will be started immediately, said Regmi. The two sides "agreed to operate the two major trading points between Nepal and Tibet in full swing by making necessary preparations" and to "open seven other trading points between Nepal and Tibet (China)".

Similarly, intensive discussions were held on the implementation of providing duty-free access to 8,000 Nepali goods. The Chinese side agreed to request their immigration department for the management of arrivals of Nepali businessmen, trucks and drivers at the border points. They also showed their commitment towards requesting Chinese manufacturers to include the label of manufacturing and expiry date on their products.

According to DoC, Chinese officials have also agreed to coordinate with authorized Chinese organization to complete the on-going construction work of ICD port in Sindhupalchowk as well as initiation of construction of Rasuwa ICD port.

Foreign Trade Down by 18 Percent
During the first two months of the current fiscal year, foreign trade in Nepal has decreased by 18 percent in comparison to the same period in the previous year. Both import and export have decreased during the period.  The ongoing protest in Terai and the unofficial blockade imposed by India have hampered both domestic and international trade.

In the first two months of the current fiscal year, total export and total import have decreased by 17.3 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively. Import of petroleum products that occupies 16 percent of total import has also decreased by 45 percent during the period.

Nepal exported goods worth Rs 14 billion and imported goods worth Rs 12.26 billion in the first two months of the current fiscal year. However, due to decline in imports, the trade deficit has decreased by 18.2 percent in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year. As per the data, the trade deficit during the previous year had increased by 27 percent.

Nepal’s export/import ratio was 1:8 in the previous fiscal year.

Alphabroder Awards Pulse Fashion
Alphabroder USA has awarded Pulse Fashion Solution (PFS) Private Limited of Biratnagar with the title of “Honored Supplier of 2015 Premium Brands”, in recognition of their long term association and excellent performance.

 Alphabroder USA’s Global Sourcing Director Cheron Coleman presented the award to Nimesh Pradhan, PFS Managing Director on November 17 at an award ceremony in Kathmandu.

PFS is a supply source for premium apparels for its global buyers. The company now boasts an installed production capacity of 1.5 million pieces of apparel per year. Most of its installed production capacity is dedicated for Alphabroder productions whereas Alphabroder is North America’s largest distributor of trade, private label and retail apparel brands and merchandise to the imprinting, embroidery and promotional product industries.

Etihad Wins Earthquake Relief Award
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has received an award from Airlink, a humanitarian nonprofit organisation for its efforts following the Nepal earthquake disaster in April this year. The award was presented to Linden Coppell, Head of Sustainability at Etihad Airways, at the Airline Economics Conference in Hong Kong.

During the disaster time, Etihad Airways had provided 54 fight tickets for aid workers from various countries to fly to Kathmandu. They provided great support to responding nonprofits, enabling rapid relief and sustained humanitarian support during disastrous event, said a press release issued by the company.

 Etihad Guest, Etihad Airways’ award-winning loyalty programme, invited its members around the world to support the cause by contributing their Guest Miles. As a result, over 30 million miles were donated by Etihad Guest members.

Aviation Fuel Price Doubled for Domestic Flights
The price of aviation fuel for domestic airlines has doubled due to the unofficial blockade of Nepal’s southern border points by India.

The hike came after aviation fuel became scarce and Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) had to airlift fuel from India. According to NOC depot chief at the airport Pradip Yadav, the fuel price has been set at Rs 232.78 per litre. According to him, the price has been set only for Tribhuvan International Airport.

Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has been flying in aviation fuel from India's Kolkata and supplying it to NOC. The government had directed the NOC back in October to subsidise the price of aviation fuel imported through air route for internal aviation. According to Yadav, NOC has not made any profit on the aviation fuel made so available to the airlines. “The new price will be effective on fuel imported by aircraft until fuel supply becomes normal,” said Yadav.

Samung Dashain Bonanza Winner Announced
Samsung Nepal has announced the winner of its Hyundia Creta car under its Samsung Nepal dashain bonanza scheme. The two month long scheme, offered people the chance to win different mobile sets, tablet PCs, motorbikes and a Hyundai Creta. Manita Maharjan won the Hyundai Creta car.

 

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