Insurance bill stalled in parliamentary committee

Kathmandu, December 25

The insurance bill has been stalled at the Federal Parliament’s Finance Committee since one-and-a-half years as the Ministry of Finance and the committee have been unable to conclude the related discussions.

On July 22 last year, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada had tabled the ‘Bill for amendment and integration of insurance’ at the Parliament. The bill has envisioned reorganising the current structure of board of directors at insurance companies after its endorsement from the Parliament.

Krishna Prasad Dahal, chairman of the finance committee, said that they will soon hold a discussion on the bill. “Till date the bill has been discussed two or three times, but we were unable to come to any conclusion.”

Dahal further informed that the bill had not been endorsed yet as the ministry had not given enough time for the discussion.

“The discussion is bound to be lengthy as we need to get into all the details. While we are hoping to sit for a discussion within the next five days, all depends on the finance ministry.”

According to Dahal, the issue has been lingering as both the parties have been unable to come together for the discussion. “We have been unable to find a mutually convenient time for the discussion,” he said, while emphasising that both sides were, however, serious about getting the bill endorsed at the earliest.

“I believe that the bill will move forward during this winter season of the Parliament,” he said.

The insurance sector regulator — Insurance Board — had proposed that it be given more autonomy and hence more authority.

However, the ministry has reportedly changed the provision of the initial draft bill submitted by the Insurance Board and reduced the authority of the regulatory body.

“The Finance Ministry has tried to keep the insurance sector regulator as a division under its authority,” a source at the board informed, further claiming that the ministry is intentionally delaying the process of bill’s endorsement.

When he was appointed to the helm of Insurance Board, Chiranjeevi Chapagain had stressed on the need for timely amendment of the Insurance Act.

But should the proposed bill be endorsed, Chapagain could lose his job.

This is because if the Parliament endorses the bill in its current form, the Insurance Board will be dissolved and Insurance Authority will be set up in its place as the sector regulator.