Sub-panel set up to resolve crisis at NTB

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Sub-panel set up to resolve crisis at NTB

Apr 6, 2015-

An emergency board meeting of the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) on Monday decided to form a five-member sub-committee amid fears that dearth of top executives in the wake of the recent corruption scam could affect the day-to-day activities at the country’s tourism promotional body.

Last Friday, the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) had charged 23 incumbent and former NTB officials with policy and institutional corruption. It has created a vacuum at the organisation as 10 executives, including two senior directors, were automatically suspended following the CIAA move.

The then officiating CEO Subash Nirola was suspended in December last year. Officials at the Special Court have, however, said a preliminary hearing would start only after a month.

According to Ghanendra Shrestha, a board member representing the private sector, the sub-committee was formed under Rajendra Sapkota, another board member from the private sector, as an interim measures to fill the void at the NTB. Two other members represent the government sector, with a joint-secretary at the Tourism Ministry being named a member-secretary at the board.

The committee would recommend the government to induct professional and skilled manpower at the board as a stop-gap measure. The meeting also decided to appoint another joint-secretary from the ministry as an administrator, Shrestha said. “The proposal passed by the Monday’s evening board meeting will be implemented within 2-3 days.” Once the proposal is endorsed, the sub-committee would recommend the number of people required to manage the ongoing understaffing crisis at the board.

The decision has been made as per the Nepal Tourism Board Act 2053 (1997) and the aspiration of public private partnership model, Shrestha said.

The NTB, charged with promoting Nepal’s tourism in the national and international arenas, has been stumbling along without its head since the then CEO Prachanda Man Shrestha’s tenure expired on Oct 31, 2011.

While the NTB’s budget swelled to more than Rs 1 billion from Rs 580 million this fiscal year, less than 15 percent of it has been spend so far. Travel trade entrepreneurs said the board had been unable to spend it properly due to the absence of a CEO.

Published: 07-04-2015 15:25

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