Pvt sector seeks legal system to channelise political donations

Kathmandu, May 8

Private sector has urged the government to introduce a system to properly channelise donation collection during the election period.

Citing that political parties participating in the upcoming local election have been collecting donations from the private industries in an unmanaged way, private sector representatives have said that the government should introduce a legal system to collect donations for the election.

“The Income Tax Act of Nepal has stated that industries should not donate more than Rs 100,000 in a year. However, local industries have been compelled to pay donations in excess of the legal limit to political parties and their local candidates,” Hari Bhakta Sharma, president of Confederation of Nepalese Industries, said. As there are large number of political parties and their local candidates for the local election, industries across the country are facing a hard time, according to Sharma.

Sharma suggested the government to properly channelise donation collection during election and allow industries to provide donations through cheque. “Legalising donations and allowing such contribution through cheques will help keep track of expenditure of industries and will also allow industries to include their expenditure in donation in the annual balance sheet of industries,” he added.

Allowing donations to be incorporated as ‘expenditure’ in annual balance sheet of industries would provide relief to industries while paying taxes to the government.

Industrialists have also suggested the government to create a ‘basket fund’ to collect donations for political parties. “Like in foreign countries, industries will contribute a certain per cent of their income in the basket fund. This fund can be utilised to give donations to political parties on the basis of votes they acquire in the election,” added Sharma.

Meanwhile, an official at the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) said that collection of donations from industries is one of the major factors that will promote corruption in the country.

“If I donate to one political party, it means that that party is obliged to be loyal to me if and when the party wins the election,” the FNCCI official said, further opining that the government should itself give funds to political parties during elections and should also restrict political parties from collecting donations from private industries.