THT 10 YEARS AGO: NAC in red over Boeing repair

Kathmandu, November 21, 2007

It is going to cost Nepal Airlines Corporation an additional $320 million to repair and bring back over 100 of its aircraft engine parts lying in Singapore, Brunei, Hong Kong, China, France, Malaysia, and other countries.

The estimate was brought out by the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting held today. Some PAC members were recently sent for a field visit to Singapore and Malaysia to study ‘ground realities.’ “The maintenance and repair work, which would have cost between 140-150 million dollars, will now cost at least 300-320 million dollars due to negligence of NAC management,” Mahadev Gurung, an MP and member of PAC, told this daily.

Moreover, the NAC Boeing run under Model 4 is said to be damaging other parts of the engine. If the NAC continues to use Model 4, a situation ‘beyond economic repair’ might arise. The engine cost will then be $10 million. “If things are not decided fast, NAC will reach a very critical state. That is why we are urging the cabinet to take a decision on NAC fast,” Gurung added.

PAC has recommended to the cabinet to immediately form a high-level commission that help resolve NAC crisis. Meanwhile, the engineering department of NAC has assured this daily that it would disclose the list of spare parts sent for repair abroad, along with the quotations, in two or three days.

NAC spokesperson Nageshwore Rai said today: “There is a long process involved in maintenance and repair work.”

India to waive duty on Nepali imports from Jan

New Delhi, November 21, 2007

India will waive customs duty on more than 4,500 items entering India from the four least developed countries — Nepal, Bangaldesh, Maldives and Bhutan — in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) from January, India’s State Minister for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said today.

Speaking at a conclave of the Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries here, Minister Ramesh said, “Under the terms of SAFTA, the government has decided to waive customs duty on 4,536 items imported from Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Bhutan.

Agro items and textiles among others will be exempt from customs duty from January.” He added that Afghanistan would also be included in the waiver list soon and that it would get the facility after it becomes a SAFTA member in February. “This is a very positive development,” said joint secretary and economic minister Kedar Bahadur Adhikari at the Nepalese Embassy here. Adhikari said Nepal would be encouraged to produce and export new items to India so as to boost the economy.

He said Nepal had a vast scope for expanding its economic horizon and strengthen its economy under the aegis of SAFTA.