Swim alone for now, NRB guv tells NCBL

KATHMANDU: Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) cannot take responsibility for cooperatives, said NRB governor Dipendra Bahadur Kshetry during a function organized to celebrate the sixth anniversary of National Cooperative Bank Ltd (NCBL) here today.

“We cannot take cooperatives into the NRB net under Bank and Financial Institution Act at this point,” said Kshetry. According to him, NRB’s current mechanism cannot afford the burden of the 13,000 cooperatives that are in operation across the country without a strong monitoring and supervision mechanism. He, however, suggested that the government make a strong regulatory and monitoring body for cooperatives. “We need a strong mechanism to regulate cooperatives as they are growing rapidly,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC) Mrigendra Kumar Singh assured of supporting the cooperative movement. “Cooperatives have become a pillar of Nepal’s economy, and no one can deny that. If we need revision in laws and policies to mainstream cooperatives, MoAC is ready to go ahead,” he said. He added, “As far as I know, cooperatives are fast becoming the banks of the poor.”

Experts on the cooperatives sector urged the government to draft a separate act — National Cooperative Development Act —- for the overall development of the sector. “Without a separate act and policy, the development of cooperatives is not possible,” said NCBL adviser Keshav Badal. He described the cooperatives movement as a catalyst of democracy and good governance.

Department of Cooperatives (DoC) registrar Maheshwor Sharma Poudel urged NCBL and all other cooperatives to focus on rural areas and the poor people living there. NCBL managing director KB Uprety demanded to NRB to allot NCBL the unused and deprived sector of banks for distribution in rural areas.

NCBL was established on July 9, 2003 under the Cooperatives Act 2000 as an umbrella body of cooperatives all over the country. Today, the bank has three branches — one each at Biratnagar, Baglung and Butwal.