Chiefless Nepal Oil Corp may get new boss soon

- Rajesh Khanal, Kathmandu

Dec 13, 2018-

Nepal Oil Corporation, which has been without a chief for more than a year, is likely to get a new managing director soon as its line ministry plans to send the names of the three final nominees to the next Cabinet meeting for its approval.

The position of managing director at the state-owned oil monopoly has been vacant since July 7 after Gopal Bahadur Khadka quit following corruption charges over a land deal. Nawaraj Dhakal, joint secretary of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies and head of the selection committee, said they had almost finalised the candidates. Dhakal declined to disclose the names of the hopefuls.

Ministry officials said Surendra Prasad Paudel, general manager of Udayapur Cement Industry, was the strongest candidate among the finalists. “Paudel is a clean figure and has the backing of Nepal Communist Party leader Mahesh Basnet who is close to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli,” said a ministry source who asked to remain unnamed.

Paudel has been credited with bringing effective programmes to improve the financial health of Udayapur Cement. He became general manager of the company last February.

Managing director at Nepal Oil Corporation is considered to be a lucrative post among government corporations. After Khadka resigned his position, the ministry issued a public notice on September 14 inviting applications for the post.

Candidates need to hold a postgraduate degree in economics, management or engineering or be a chartered account and have least five years’ experience in a high official position.

A total of 17 aspirants applied for the job. Ramesh Basnet, former chief of the Sikta Irrigation Project, who was recently grilled by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority on charges of misappropriating Rs2.13 billion, was one of the candidates. As per the ministry source, Basnet was removed from the list of candidates following the development.

Former chief of the Nepal Electricity Authority Mukesh Raj Kafle is another candidate. He was a controversial figure during his tenure in the state-owned power utility and was accused of extending the load-shedding hours that bedevilled the country for years.

Ram Prasad Dhital, former executive director of the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre, is another hopeful. He is known for failing to utilise a Rs1-billion grant during his tenure in the centre.

Shiva Hari Shrestha, former chief of Nepal Food Corporation; Anil Kumar Jha, former managing director of Janak Education Materials Centre; Govinda Prasad Kharel, senior divisional engineer at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport; Gobardan Khadka and Achyut Raj Pahadi, officials of Nepal Airlines Corporation; Saroj Koirala, a scholar of foreign direct investment; and Lok Bahadur Khadka, former official of the Youth Self-employment Fund are also among the applicants. Most of them are controversial figures, as per the ministry source.

Nepal Oil Corporation official Pralayankar Acharya is the only in-house candidate.

Published: 13-12-2018 07:37

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