Can Kulman Ghising be reappointed as NEA managing director?

  • Foreign minister points to legal hurdle, lawyers say reappointment possible


Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali, who is also the spokesperson for the government, today said there was a legal hurdle in reappointing Kulman Ghising as the managing director of Nepal Electricity Authority.

He said this at a public meeting in Butwal today without elaborating on the legal hurdle.

Ghising, who earned people’s sympathy for ending load shedding in the country, completed his tenure this week.

Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barshaman Pun wants to reappoint him as MD of the NEA, but the PM is against the reappointment.

Corporate lawyer Gandhi Pandit said as per Section 17 of the Nepal Electricity Authority Act the government could reappoint Ghising as MD of the NEA. “If the government wants to reappoint Ghising at NEA, there is no legal hurdle. It depends whether or not the government wants to reappoint him,” Pandit said.

He said Ghising might have shortcomings but he had certainly given more than any other NEA chief and did commendable job to end load shedding in the country.

“Now if Ghising is reappointed, he can do more as he enjoys public support for his work,” Pandit said.

People have started protesting in favour of Ghising. Section 17 of the NEA Act stipulates that for the purpose of managing the business of the authority, the board may appoint a general manager to function as chief administrative officer and advisers and employees as per necessity.

The Government of Nepal may appoint an executive director to function as chief administrative officer until arrangements are made for holding the general meeting.

Senior Advocate Surendra Kumar Mahto said there was no law made by the Parliament that constrained Ghising from being reappointed as the chief of the NEA. “The Baburam Bhattarai government had issued directives making provisions for appointing chief executive officers of the public enterprises on the basis of competition, but that is not a law. The government may or may not follow the directives,” Mahto said.

He added that if the government wanted to reappoint Ghising to the post of NEA MD, there was no law that stopped the government from doing so. He said the government recently made some appointments in public enterprises purely on its discretion without requiring the candidates to compete with anybody.

“In the past, there was no stability in the public enterprises as the chief of those enterprises would change with the change of line ministries.

The Bhattarai government made new directives to stop this practice,” Mahto said.

He said the purpose of competition was to look for a qualified candidate, but Kulman Ghising was a tested person who had earned credibility for ending load shedding in the country.

Another lawyer told THT that Ghising should be given credit for acting honestly and strictly against those who were stealing NEA electricity by bribing the corrupt officials.

“Improvement in transmission lines, import of power from India and addition of power from domestic producers were the main reasons behind ending the load shedding in the country,” he said.

The lawyer added that in the next five years Nepal would have generated enough hydel power to address the power woes.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 19, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.