Govt didn’t appoint Kul Man Ghising citing the need for a fresh competition but picked Shakya without one

L-R: Hitendra Dev Shakya, and Kul Man Ghising

Kathmandu, February 10

When Kul Man Ghising retired as the managing director of the Nepal Electricity Authority in September 2020, there were several voices for his reappointment as many believe it was him who led rescued the country from hours of daily power outage four years ago.

However, the government did not budge–saying it needed a fresh competition to select the new chief of the government-run electricity distribution body.

The public apparently agreed because when Ghising was appointed in 2016, he had won a competition among senior NEA officials.

Now, five months down the line, the government finally found Ghising’s successor in Hitendra Dev Shakya who was working as the officiating managing director of the authority since November 2020. However, the government did not bother to hold any competition.

As per the government’s Public Utility Directive Board (Formation and Operation) Order, the chief executive of any public utility is selected after a panel recommends three shortlisted candidates, alphabetically, to the government. The order’s section 12.3 says the panel should hold a competition among the candidates based on their competence, experience, their business and financial plans, interviews and presentations to shortlist the candidates.

The order categorically lists 38 public utilities functioning under the Nepal government, and the authority is one of them.

However, the Oli government, apparently in its bid to appoint its favourite people in the agencies, has already dissolved the Public Utility Directive Board in July 2018.

Since then, although a few corporations hold internal competitions among the officials to pick their chief executive, most of the appointments are made directly by the cabinet as in the case of Shakya.

Nonetheless, the authority also does not have any specific law that requires competition for anyone to become its chief executive. It has formulated an internal working procedure for the competition, but it is not in operation.

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Ghimire is a senior business journalist at Onlinekhabar.

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