Kathmandu, June 10
Operation of the one-stop service centre for investors, which was a prime weapon that the government used in the budget for 2019-20 fiscal to please the business community, has failed to facilitate investors in reality owing to lack of preparation before announcing the service and failure to empower government officials deployed at the centre.
Minister of Finance Yubaraj Khatiwada, through the budget for the next fiscal, announced that the one-stop service centre for investors had started functioning on the premises of the Department of Industry on May 15. The private sector, which had long been complaining of administrative hurdles in starting business in Nepal, applauded the move as they expected the one-stop centre to ensure quick approvals, registration and other administrative services.
However, the bitter reality is that the ‘one-stop service centre’ has not been able to provide any respite to investors, who continue to be obliged to visit government agencies to get documents approved.
Acknowledging that the centre has not been able to fulfil its purpose, Binod Prakash Singh, director general of DoI, blamed the current situation on the lack of preparation before initiating the service and failure of different government agencies to empower their representative officials.
The one-stop service centre is supposed to house offices of all necessary government agencies responsible for giving approvals regarding registration, foreign currency exchange, visa facilitation, environment, infrastructure, land administration, customs and revenues and administration and law.
“However, a number of government agencies, including Nepal Electricity Authority and Nepal Telecommunications Authority, are yet to send their representatives to the centre. Though a few agencies such as the Department of Immigration and Nepal Rastra Bank have deployed their representatives, they have not been delegated necessary power,” Singh added.
As a result, the one-stop service centre is functioning merely as an ‘information centre’ for investors.
However, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies has claimed that a letter has been sent to all the related government agencies to send their representatives with dedicated power to the service centre as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the private sector has stated that business growth is not possible without addressing procedural hurdles.
A version of this article appears in print on June 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.