Appointing board members at NTB an uphill task

KATHMANDU, APR 24: Appointing board members at Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) will be a tough task until the court gives its verdict on the corruption case that has hit the tourism promotion body of the country.
The government cannot replace the board members who were implicated in the corruption case and subsequently suspended by appointing new board members, as per Umakanta Parajuli, joint secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), which is the parent ministry of NTB.
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) recently filed a case on corruption charges at the Special Court against some board members and senior-level staff of NTB, including retired members.
The board members who are suspended at present can be reinstated if the court gives a verdict in their favour, according to Parajuli.
“But there is no obstacle in appointing the CEO as the post has been vacant since long and NTB was being run by officiating CEOs,” said Parajuli, adding, “However, the name of CEO needs to be recommended by the three-member subcommittee of private sector representatives of the board, but at the moment there are only two members from the private sector at the NTB board.”
As per Nepal Tourism Board Rules-1999, the private sector board members committee should recommend three names from the short-listed candidates (from free competition) to the post of CEO.Among the 10 board members of NTB, there are five each from the government and private sector.
But three from the private sector were suspended and only Ghanendra Bahadur Shrestha and Rajendra Prasad Sapkota are now left. The CIAA had filed a case against four board members (three from private sector and one from government).
“The NTB board chaired by the MoCTCA secretary is preparing to forward a proposal to the Cabinet to amend the rules in a bid to appoint a CEO,” Parajuli stated. MoCTCA will propose to amend the rules so that it is enough even for a two-member sub-committee of private sector to recommend the three candidates to the NTB board.
NTB board formed a three-member committee for the day-to-day operation of NTB till the problems are resolved. The committee comprises MoCTCA’s Joint Secretaries Parajuli and Ramesh Kumar.