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Twenty Travel Agencies to boycott NTB programs2014-04-23 13:13:45


Twenty travel trade organizations have been decided not to get involved in any national and international program organized by the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), accusing NTB officials of engaging in massive irregularities of funds collected tourists.ime for tourism promotion inside the country.
 
At a meeting on Tuesday, the joint Tourism Coordination Committee disclosed that NTB’s amended Financial Bylaws have authorized its chief to spend Rs 10 million at a time for tourism promotion inside the nation.
 
The NTB chief has also been authorized to spend $400,000 outside the country and spend any amount through NTB’s honorary representatives, according to the committee’s latter addressed to the Tourism Minister.
 
The bylaws, which the private sector said was amended behind closed doors through a board decision, have allowed NTB to make a consignment or tender of goods amounting up to Rs 2.5 million without following the Public Procurement Act and Regulation. 

The Public procurement Regulation says a tender has to be called to procure goods worth above Rs 1 million. However, the amended bylaws have allowed NTB to procure goods worth Rs 1 to 2.5 million through quotation instead of a tendering process, his bylaws which have not been made public, have provisioned tender for procurement worth more than Rs 2.5 million. 

“The government and its agencies are guided by the Public procurement Act and its regulation and amending the bylaws overtaking the Act us unlawful,” said an NTB official. “The amendment has given the acting CEO full authority to misuse the fund.” 

NTB’s officiating CEO Subash Niroula was not available for comments, although the Post made repeated attempts to contact him. A recorded voice message from the CEO’s mobile phone said, “We are closed today and please contact during the office hours.” NTB, which has been assigned to promote Nepal’s tourism in the national and international arenas, has been stumbling along its head since the then CEO Prachanda Man Shrestha’s tenure expired on October 31, 2011.
 
The private sector has urged the government to immediately implement a report on NTB’s restructuring submitted by a government-led team. The private sector has asked the government to immediately appoint a new NTB CEO through a competitive process. 

As the government has permitted NTB to double its tourism services fee charged to tourists departing from the Tribhuvan International Airport to Rs 1,000 from march 1, NTB’s annual budget is expected to balloon to Rs 1.21 billion.
Cash-rich NTB recently said it would soon launch a five-year tourism plan under which it proposes to convert isolated and abandoned heritage building into commercially viable tourism products.  Among the different proposed projects, the board is considering taking over places and residences of historical importance, particularly those illustrating the decadence of the Rana regime, and lease them out to private companies.

Source: ekantipur.com, 23rd April
   

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