From the Kathmandu Press: Monday, April 22, 2019

Ruling party Nepal Communist Party finalising the names of party leaders who will be chairpersons and secretaries of the district chapters of the party has been featured in most national newspapers along with news of RJPN and FSFN holding merger talks in Kathmandu on Monday.

Here is a summary of important, ignored and interesting stories from the front pages of national broadsheets:


File: A meeting of Nepal Communist Party Secretariat

NCP close to merger wrap-up

Nagarik, Annapurna Post, Nepal Samacharpatra, Kantipur, Republica and The Himalayan Times report that the secretariat of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) on Sunday finalised the names of party leaders who will be chairpersons and secretaries of the district chapters of the party.

NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the party would announce the names of chairpersons and secretaries of the district chapters at a programme on Monday that would also mark the inception of Nepal’s first communist party.

With the finalisation of the names of key office bears of all 77 district chapters, the ruling party made a key headway on unification issues that had lingered on for months due to factional feuds, mainly between Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.

Spokesperson Shrestha said the secretariat meeting also decided to name politburo members and allocate responsibilities to party leaders within a few days. The meeting, however, did not finalise issues related to sister wings of the party.

Party leaders had agreed earlier to let former UML leaders call the shots in 45 districts and former CPN-MC leaders to be at the helm in 32 districts. There was not much resistance in the districts allotted to erstwhile CPN-MC, but there were misgivings against the deal on the part of former UML leaders in the districts allotted to them.

Lalita Niwas land undervalued to evade tax

Republica and Nagarik report that the land mafia while selling the Lalita Niwas land had undervalued the land at Rs 800,000 per ropani [5476 sq ft] to evade taxes during registration. Going by this price, the 114 ropani of land of Lalita Niwas was sold for around Rs 90 million.

Sources said Bhatbhateni Supermarket proprietor Min Bahadur Gurung, Shobha Kanta Dhakal and Ram Kumar Subedi had bought a total 114 ropani of the land by paying Rs 2,250 per ana or Rs 36,000 per ropani as tax from the then users of Lalita Niwas land — Rukma Shumsher Rana, Suniti Rana, Shailaja Rana, Hatak Shumsher Rana and Heman Shumsher Rana.

A person who bought land from Bhatbhateni Supermarket owner Gurung said he had bought the land at the rate of 700,000 per ana [342.25 sq ft]. If this person is to be trusted, then land revenue officials and land mafia evaded Rs 29,000 tax per ana of land sold. This shows that the state had lost around Rs 50 million in taxes due to the collusion of the land mafia and officials.

RJPN and FSFN to discuss merger in Kathmandu

Republica reports that a three-day meeting of the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) which kicks off in the capital on Monday will discuss the party’s proposed merger with the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN). 

The meeting, which comes in the backdrop of a formal offer for merger from the FSFN, is being watched with much anticipation as it will decide the fate of the proposed merger of the two regional parties.

RJPN and FSFN, the third and fourth largest parties in the parliament with roots in Madhesi politics, haven’t yet been able to start formal negotiation due to a precondition put forth by the latter.

RJPN wants FSFN to sever ties with the ruling Nepal Communist Party in order to pave way for merger. FSFN, a partner in the coalition government, has turned down the precondition but has said that it could think about quitting the government after a merger.

RJPN leader Brishesh Chandra Lal said that the meeting would decide the party’s next move taking into consideration its recent correspondence with the FSFN.


Ncell still pondering ways to avoid paying tax

The Kathmandu Post reports that two days before the deadline set by Large Taxpayers Office for Ncell to clear its dues expires, the mobile company says it has still not taken a decision on the amount determined by the tax office.

In line with the order of the Supreme Court to collect capital gains tax from the private sector mobile company and its parent firm, Axiata, the Large Taxpayers Office on April 16 determined their capital gains tax liability at Rs 39.06 billion, and asked them to pay the amount in seven days.

Since the order on the capital gains tax was passed by a full bench of the top court, officials and legal experts say there is no room for Ncell and Axiata to appeal to any other court of law.

However, the court order does not prevent Ncell from seeking an administrative review on the amount determined by the tax authorities.

Pathao will have to pay Rs 3 million as VAT

The Kathmandu Post reports that the tax authority has determined value-added tax to be paid by ride-sharing service company Pathao, at around Rs 3 million although “the company never charged VAT on those who received the company’s service”.

Tax officials said that despite getting registered in VAT, Pathao failed to raise VAT—and subsequently failed to pay—to the tax office was forced to determine its tax liability. Last week, the tax authority took similar action against Tootle, another ride-sharing company, determining that the company was liable to pay Rs34 million in income tax and VAT.


Sugar mills want govt to impose import restriction again

The Kathmandu Post reports that domestic sugar mills said they would be battling a glut in production in the next fiscal year and have started putting pressure on the government to continue the quantitative restriction on sugar imports imposed last year.

In a public notice issued on Sunday, Nepal Sugar Mills Association said that the domestic sugar production is expected to hover at 190,500 tonnes this sugarcane crushing season that is likely to end in mid-May. And if the remaining stock of last year’s is taken account, they would have altogether 267,042 tonnes of sugar. However, consumer rights activists say it’s a foul play to increase the market price like they did last year. The imports restriction had allowed mills to increase the sugar price to Rs 90 per kg, from Rs 60 last year.

6 billion allowances added

Kantipur reports that the government going against its decision has now decided to continue giving incentive allowance to government employees working at various levels of the government. This means that the government will have to rake out Rs 6 billion a year from the national treasury to distribute the allowance.  The government has decided to give the officials at the Customs and Revenue department and the CIAA 100 per cent allowance and 14 other government offices.

Published on April 22nd, Monday, 2019 10:46 AM

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