NTB resumes selection process for new CEO

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 28, 2015-

The stalled appointment process for a new chief executive officer at the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has started moving again following the Patan Appellate Court’s go-ahead. The country’s tourism promotion body received clearance from the court last September to select a new head under the old process. 

On June 10, the NTB had invited fresh applications for the position of CEO while keeping the earlier process alive. The board had shortlisted 12 applicants in the first week of November 2011 under the old process. Among the shortlisted candidates, former NTB senior director Subash Nirola has been charge-sheeted in a corruption scam.

Soon after the shortlist was issued, four of those on it—Narayan Krishna Pradhan, Raghu Bista, Gyanendra Ratna Tuladhar and Bishnu Prasad GC—filed a writ at the court against the NTB board and the Tourism Ministry demanding that the new process be annulled. The court subsequently directed the NTB and the ministry to begin the CEO appointment process as per NTB Act 1997. 

The NTB board had invited new applications explaining that it wanted to give an opportunity to fresh candidates too as there were a number of hopefuls in the market. But the old applicants argued that inviting fresh applications was not legal as the process had reached its final stages. 

“The appointment process has begun again. And the CEO selection committee has been directed to conclude the process within 15-20 days,” said Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, secretary at the Tourism Ministry, who also chairs the NTB board. 

Thapaliya said that the ministry had also asked for suggestions from the Public Service Commission whether one of its members should be included in the CEO selection sub-committee to make the process fair and transparent. “The commission told us to take the process ahead ourselves.” 

The NTB has been stumbling along without a head since October 31, 2011 when the then CEO Prachanda Man Shrestha’s tenure expired. Due to a dispute among private sector representatives, the NTB has suffered several setbacks in its efforts to appoint a new boss. 

Under the NTB Act and Regulation, a three-member sub-committee should be formed from among the five members representing the private sector on the board to appoint the CEO. 

The selection sub-committee comprises Ghanendra Shrestha and Rajendra Sapkota representing the NTB board as private sector representatives, while Ghanshyam Upadhyay, joint secretary of the Tourism Ministry, has been named the third member of the sub-committee. 

The NTB’s 11-member board consists of five representatives each from the government and the private sector besides the CEO. 

As the ministry has not been able to fill the five slots meant for the private sector in the NTB board, and three of them are required to appoint the CEO, it had amended the CEO selection procedure. Upadhyaya has been named the new member under the new procedure. 

In the first week of November 2011, the three-member sub-committee had shortlisted 12 candidates. However, the process stalled after the terms of three of the five board members—Ganesh Simkhada, Nimi Sherpa and Agni Kadel—expired at the end of the month. Since then, the process has been constantly disrupted by complaints filed at the Supreme Court against the appointment process. 

The new selection sub-committee will shortlist three candidates after the presentation and interview, and recommend their names to the NTB board which will select one from among them for the top post.

According to the NTB Act, a prospective CEO should have 10 years’ experience in the tourism sector and at least a Master’s degree. 

Due to political manoeuvring and rampant irregularities, the NTB, formed under an exemplary public-private-partnership model, has not been functioning as per its aims.

Published: 28-10-2015 08:41

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