After chief secy, hunt intensifies for NRA CEO

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
After chief secy, hunt intensifies for NRA CEO

Aug 5, 2015-

Following the appointment of Somlal Subedi as the next chief secretary on Wednesday, all eyes are now trained on the impending appointment of chief executive officer at National Reconstruction Authority (NRA), a high-powered body to undertake post-quake reconstruction and rehabilitation projects.

 The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday appointed Subedi, secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development, as acting chief secretary who will be automatically elevated to the post of Chief Secretary after his predecessor Leela Mani Poudyal retires on Sunday.

An expert on decentralisation, law and administration, Subedi has 34-year experience in bureaucracy and maintains a relative clean image.

Highly placed sources said the appointment of Subedi as a common candidate of the ruling Nepali Congress and CPN-UML has cleared the deck for hiring the NRA chief executive.

The ruling parities had been at odds over some key appointments, mainly the chief secretary and the CEO of the Reconstruction Authority, with the NC staking its claim on both the positions and the UML pitching its candidate for one of the two positions. Sources said the NC and the UML could again pick a common candidate for the NRA. “We expect the next Cabinet meeting will appoint NRA chief and it is likely that the NC and UML will seek a common candidate,” said a senior government official.

“It is already getting delayed, we have to appoint CEO as soon as possible,” said Minister for Information and Communications Minendra Rijal.

The delay over the appointment of CEO has hit reconstruction and rehabilitation plans, with donors seeking concrete proposals from the government. The donors have been asking the government to identify areas and prepare modalities where their assistance are required.

“It is difficult to hold negotiations with them on programme and project basis due to lack of institution. Failure to appoint the CEO and install the office will reflect poorly on us,” said a senior Finance Ministry official.

Four names making rounds for the top NRA post are Vice-chairman of the National Planning Commission Govinda Raj Pokharel, former Home and Foreign Minister Madhav Ghimire, former Nepal Army General Balananda Sharma and outgoing chief secretary Poudyal.

According to an NC minister, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala is in favour of Pokharel, while the UML and a section of the diplomatic community in Kathmandu is pitching for Ghimire.   

Another strong contender is Poudyal, with a section of political leaders throwing their weight behind him. Poudyal retires from the civil service on Sunday. Sharma is also interested in the post and is understood to be in a lobbying blitz.  

Know new chief secy

Four years after being promoted as secretary, Somlal Subedi now heads the country’s 78,000-strong civil servants. Subedi was second on seniority basis behind Secretary Shreedhar Gautam. As the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority directed the government to take departmental action against Gautam for delaying decision on the sale of Gokarna Forest Resort shares, Subedi edged him to the top bureaucratic post. He will have a full three-year tenure.

Jaya Mukunda Khanal, secretary at the Industry Ministry, and Bishwa Prakash Pandit, secretary at the Education Ministry, were other candidates for the post.

Subedi, who hails from Kaski, joined civil service in 1981 as a non-gazetted second class officer. During his three-decade career, Subedi has served at the Finance Ministry, Local Development Ministry and the General Administration Ministry. He had also worked as Local Development Officer in Surkhet, Nawalparasi, Kavre and Baglung .

Published: 06-08-2015 08:10

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