THT 10 YEARS AGO: Tourism takes a beating
Kathmandu, December 30, 2005
Tourism industry in the year 2005 did not perform well as tourist arrivals declined compared to 2004. Tourist arrivals to Nepal in 2005 amounted to only about 2,50,000 compared to 2,66,000 in the year 2004, said senior government officials while speaking to journalists at a year-end press conference held today on the occasion of the eight year of operations of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB). Tek Bahadur Dangi, CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), said today that due to lack of air connection with European countries, tourist arrivals to Nepal in 2005 declined. CEO Dangi agreed that despite various sorts of promotional programmes in other countries, tourism growth could not been realised as per expectations. “It has been equally difficult for Nepal to lure Chinese tourists to Nepal due to costly air tickets,” said Dangi while expressing serious concerns over the low level of effectiveness in tourism promotional activities. Despite constraints, NTB has been successful in expanding promotion campaigns in South East Asian countries of Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, he said. NTB has been actively involved in all sorts of tourism promotion campaigns for religious, sports, adventurous and mountain tourism, according to Dangi. NTB has an annual budget of Rs 100 million.
Audit indicts RNA for fund misuse
Kathmandu, December 30, 2005
The Auditor General has pointed out several “serious irregularities” in the way the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) has been using the Army Welfare Fund. The Auditor General has found a number of “flaws” in the use of the welfare fund under different heads like providing health service, education, housing and other facilities to the families of the ex-army men. The Auditor General was responding to a Supreme Court order on the audit of the Welfare Fund of the RNA. A high-ranking official of the Office of the Auditor General, Pradip Bikram Rana, submitted the report in court today. The court had directed the Auditor General to produce its audit report on the use of the Welfare Fund acting on a writ petition filed by Ambar Bahadur Thapamagar, chairman of Ex-Army Welfare Council, four years ago. Thapamagar had also sought a court order to provide salary and facilities as per the agreement between the government and the United Nations while deploying RNA personnel on peacekeeping missions abroad. The audit report, referring to deployment of army men in East Timor and Yugoslavia, states that the RNA did not keep any record of income and expenditure while deploying the RNA personnel. The report also shows that the RNA has been operating several cafeterias and petrol pumps in the country, but the expenses incurred on them were not based on bills and receipts and a proper accounting system for over two decades.