NTB has spent only 10pc of annual budget so far

KATHMANDU, APR 25: Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has managed to spend just 10 per cent of its total budget for this fiscal year in the nine-and-a-half month period due to prolonged deadlock in appointment of CEO and disputes regarding the amendment of financial bylaw in the country’s tourism promotion body.
As per Ramesh Kumar Adhikari, administrative chief of NTB, the board had planned to spend Rs 1.10 billion this fiscal, but its total spending for tourism promotion until now stands at only Rs 110 million. “Since we are nearing the end of this fiscal, it is unlikely that our spending will go up much in these last few months,” said Adhikari.
NTB prepares its budget based on its revenue generation.NTB has two major programmes for this fiscal. One of them is to operate international travel marts in five different destinations within this fiscal.
It expects a larger number of participants in the marts that are planned to be operated in Europe, Australia, Thailand, India and the United States.
NTB had allocated Rs 20 million for the operation of international travel marts. The amount has not been utilised as NTB has not operated a single mart so far.
The second major NTB programme for this fiscal is to organise domestic travel fair for the promotion of domestic tourism, informed Adhikari. The board had allocated Rs eight million for the purpose. This amount has not been used either.
The hurdle to increase the spending now is that all the payments need to be approved by the three-member committee formed by NTB board to run the day-to-day affairs at NTB, as per Adhikari.
The board of NTB, which is chaired by the secretary of Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) has formed a three-member committee comprising MoCTCA Joint Secretary Umakanta Parajuli, private sector board member of NTB, Rajendra Prasad Sapkota and Adhikari.
Adhikari, who is the deputy director general of the Department of Tourism, is serving as the administrative chief till the appointment of CEO. NTB has initiated the process to appoint a CEO, which was being run by officiating CEOs since long.
The MoCTCA will soon forward the proposal to amend the Nepal Tourism Board Rules to appoint the CEO at the tourism promotion body.
NTB is passing through a turbulent time as four of its board members and 10 senior-level staff have been suspended on corruption charges.
The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has filed a graft case against them at the Special Court. All the chiefs of the five divisions of the board — namely public relation, product and resource development, research, corporate services and marketing — were also suspended on the graft case.